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Many snowbirds put off by U.S. health hazards

Many Canadians in British Columbia and other provinces have chosen to bear the cold of winter instead of making their usual trips to warmer areas in the United States. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has eased travel restrictions to allow Canadian snowbirds to fly to their warmer destinations, where they would typically spend about four to six months each year. However, many are too concerned about current health risks south of the border.

Border crossing restrictions for road travel will remain banned, with Dec. 21 mentioned as the possible date for reopening the border. However, for some Canadians, flocking south has been part of their lives for 10 to 30 years. Many of them are still planning to go, even if it is a bit later than usual.

Safety considerations

Those who choose to take the trip might have to face quarantine upon their arrival in the United States. Quarantine might even apply upon their return to Canada, depending on the state of the lockdown. Although most travel to areas where medical services and hospitals are usually available, these facilities might be overwhelmed this year, risking the possibility that many individuals – including vacationers – could be left without necessary medical care at a critical time.

Insurance considerations

Another important consideration involves health insurance. Snowbirds must obtain additional coverage for emergencies during their U.S. stays to supplement their government-provided coverage. However, some reported that in the current conditions, the extra coverage is as much as $1,000 more. Furthermore, some are unsure whether that coverage would be effective if they should contract the COVID-19 virus.

If you are a Canadian resident who is unsure about making the trip to spend the winter in the United States this year, reviewing the latest information about border crossing may be beneficial. U.S. immigration requirements during your stay may be different from what you have been used to in years past.