Americans traveling to Alaska through Canada for work or to return home will now face firmer rules to prevent what is being coined the ‘Alaska loophole,’ where Americans claim to be Alaska-bound to skirt the border closure to non-essential travel.
To reduce the risk of importing Covid-19 cases from the U.S. and to minimize the time travelers spend in the country, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced the following rules for foreign nationals traveling through Canada to Alaska, in a July 30 press release. As of July 31, travelers must:
Enter Canada at one of the five identified CBSA ports of entry:
-Abbotsford-Huntingdon (British Columbia)
-Kingsgate (British Columbia)
-North Portal (Saskatchewan)
-Osoyoos (British Columbia)
-Will be allowed a reasonable period of time to carry out
-Will be limited to travel within Canada using the most direct route from the point of entry to the intended point of exit, while avoiding all national parks, leisure sites and tourism activities
-Will be required, before entering the U.S., to report to the nearest CBSA point of entry to confirm their exit from Canada
Previously, Americans could travel through Canada, to or from Alaska, if they could satisfy a border services officer that they were traveling for non-discretionary purposes and did not exhibit any signs of Covid-19 symptoms. Examples of non-discretionary travel, according to the Canadian government’s website, include work and study, critical infrastructure support, economic services and supply chain, and health, immediate medical care, safety and security.
Travelers will also be issued a “hang tag” to attach to their rear view mirror for the duration of their trip to or from Alaska that will help border agents enforce compliance. The tag will include the conditions imposed upon entry, public health and safety measures to follow and the date they must depart Canada.
The increased restrictions came after at least nine Americans were each fined $1,000 for violating the Quarantine Act in Canada throughout July.
All travelers must satisfy a border service officer that they meet the requirements for entry into Canada and are encouraged to have documentation that will demonstrate their purpose of travel when entering the country.
The press release states that providing false information to a border service officer may lead to consequences such as being denied entry and/or being banned from returning to Canada.