Guest Blog: Canadian Snowbirds and Travel During COVID-19
AG Secure Home Watch
This is the first of many blogs that will be shared from our Canadian members. We are happy to share their thoughts and input with you.
For many Canadian snowbirds, it is customary to escape the harsh winters and travel south for up to six months of the year. Some people rent when they reach their destination, but many own homes that remain unoccupied during their absence.
Well, 2020 has been unusual, to say the least. At the beginning of March of this year, due to the pandemic, the Canadian government asked that all Canadians return home. The border with the U.S. closed on March 20, preventing U.S. and Canadian citizens from crossing the border for non-essential travel, both by land and air. Currently, the government still recommends that Canadians avoid non-essential travel abroad.
Even though the travel industry suffered the most from this pandemic, I did meet a few snowbirds that will not let COVID-19 stop them from flying south and enjoying the sun.
Out of curiosity, I asked Ontario residents in the regions of Caledon, Orangeville, Newmarket, and Shelburne if they would be willing to travel out of country this winter. Out of 688 people, 47 answered yes, 34 are undecided, and the final 607 answered no. On the other hand, I was surprised when a colleague of mine told me that most of her regular Toronto-based clients have already gone south for the winter!
After further research, I have found out that many Canadians are still unaware that the U.S. border is open for travel by air. For the Canadian snowbird still wanting to travel south this winter, air travel is currently the best way to go. There are only a few exemptions for those wanting to drive across the border, which includes essential travel.
The Airline Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees has been lobbying the Federal Government for rapid testing in our Canadian airports. To have all our Canadian airports participate would mean safer travel for our snowbirds and travelers alike. For the time being, rapid COVID testing is available for arriving international travelers at certain Canadian airports, and for the rest, a 14-day quarantine is still mandatory. There is still good news for vacationers going south: Since many Caribbean destinations and other countries rely strongly on the travel industry for their economy, they have added safety precautions with additional COVID-19 testing on arrival to ensure everyone’s safety.
Recently in the news, the government of Canada announced that the first COVID-19 vaccine could be delivered across the country as early as the end of December and administered by January. That is exciting news for all our snowbirds and travelers!
To many snowbirds, going south is the equivalent to sunshine, vitamin D, and health. They would rather be safe and in the warmth of the sun, than to endure the harsh Canadian winter. No matter where you decide to travel, either north to your winter chalet or south to a warm, sunny destination, always ensure your home is safe. Hire a professional Home Watch company accredited by the National Home Watch Association so you can have peace of mind while you are away!
Thanks for reading, and safe travels!
AG Secure HomeWatch
AG Secure HomeWatch Inc. is an Ontario, Canadian, based company accredited by the National Home Watch Association. Through strict adherence and protocols, our team and our colleagues at the NHWA are committed to the health and safety of our clients and their homes. We are keeping up to date with the pandemic changes and are committed to the best practices of the health and safety set out by our governments’ health protocols as well as the National Home Watch Association’s recommendations.
The NHWA establishes and holds the highest standard of practice and ethics for all Home Watch companies. To find an accredited Home Watch company near you, visit https://nationalhomewatchassociation.org/find-an-accredited-nhwa-member/.
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A little about the National Home Watch Association: The NHWA was formed in 2009 in order to establish and maintain the highest industry standards for Home Watch and absentee homeowner services throughout the United States and Canada (www.nationalhomewatchassociation.org).