Two American citizens were arrested for breaking quarantine rules after entering Canada through an Ontario border town.
Ontario Provincial Police said the pair came in through Fort Frances, a town that borders Minnesota. Canada Border Services officers told them to drive directly to their destination and self-isolate for 14 days, as is required under federal regulations, but police said the Americans were spotted making stops in Fort Frances on June 24.
David and Anee Sippell, from Excelsior, Minn., have been charged with failure to comply with an order prohibiting of subjecting to any condition the entry into Canada. The charge comes with a $1,000 fine.
Any travellers entering Canada have to quarantine themselves for 14 days, regardless of whether they show symptoms of COVID-19. They are responsible for having a place to self-isolate, including a way to get there, get groceries and access essential medical services. Penalties for breaking mandated quarantine orders can range from a maximum fine of $750,000, six months of jail time and a year-long ban from Canada.
“I would just like to emphasize to all Canadians, to all Americans, that these restrictions are there for a reason.”
The U.S.-Canada border has been shut down to non-essential visitors since mid-March. Prime Minister Trudeau has extended the order three times since then, given the growing number of cases of COVID-19 in the United States. It is set to expire on July 21, but the Canadian government reviews the agreement every month.
Only Americans who are essential workers, have an essential reason to visit, or hold dual citizenship are currently allowed into Canada. But the government of Canada has warned that even dual passport holders can be denied entry.
In June, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland had to warn Americans to stop using travelling to Alaska as a loophole to enter Canada.
“I would just like to emphasize to all Canadians, to all Americans, that these restrictions are there for a reason,” said Freeland at a press conference. “They are there to keep us all safe.”
That month, RCMP issued seven $1,200 tickets to Americans — who appeared to be using the Alaska loophole — for violating the Public Health Act by stopping in Banff during the pandemic.
Canada isn’t the only country Americans are trying to sneak into during pandemic travel restrictions. On Sunday, five Americans were turned back from the Italian island of Sardinia, when they tried to fly there in a private plane.
An American FedEx pilot was arrested and jailed in Singapore in May after he left his hotel room to buy medical supplies, instead of following his mandated two-week quarantine.
Watch: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s being ‘very careful’ about opening the U.S.-Canada border