Canada will provide an exemption to the U.S. border closure to allow immediate family members of citizens and permanent residents to enter.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the ’limited exemption’ on Monday in response to numerous stories of families being separated by coronavirus border closures.
“This is an incredibly difficult time to be apart from a spouse, a child or mom or dad. We hear that” Trudeau said in his daily COVID-19 briefing.
“That’s why we are bringing in a limited exemption to allow immediate family members of citizens or permanent residents to come to Canada.”
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Trudeau warned those crossing the border under the exemption are still required to complete 14 days of quarantine on arrival.
Those not following the rules ‘face serious penalties’, the Liberal leader said.
Currently, everyone entering Canada from abroad is required to self-isolate for 14 days and present a credible quarantine plan, or be forced to stay at a quarantine facility.
Authorities are conducting spot checks, with those not following the rules facing a $750,000 fine and/or up-to 6 months in jail. If they put someone’s life in danger by not following the rules, the possible fine increases to $1 million and 3 years in jail.
Officials from Canada and the U.S. agreed to close the border on March 20 to all but essential travel to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Travel deemed essential includes the movement of goods and travel for work, so as not to impact trade and supply chains at a time of economic crisis.
Since the closure on March 20, the measure has been extended twice, with the current closure due to expire on June 21.