Recently, it was recently decreed that anyone returning to Canada from abroad must spend about 40 days in a hotel at a cost of $2,000. But what is the reality? I've snuck behind the scenes of what's been put in place recently, and I'll give you a step-by-step look at how it works.
Booking before your return
Before returning home you will need to make your hotel reservation in advance at a government-approved hotel, which you can find here. Your reservation will cover for 3 days: food (a certain amount per day), room, security, transportation, different measures. To reserve a hotel, you will have to call at least 48 hours in advance to a service open from 8am to 11pm 7/7 (ET time).
1-800-294-8253 if you are in North America.
1-613-830-2992 for all other regions
Story of a person who returned to France/Canada
Circé, was kind enough to give me his feedback on the new rules that have been put in place. She is one of the first to test this new system. For the hotel reservation, it was hell. According to her, more than 8h30 of waiting on the phone. In addition, the people in charge of the service looked completely lost and did not know which Circé papers had to get to make her hotel request.
Une fois arrivée à l'aéroport le jour de son départ, on lui demande son billet d'avion. Once she arrived at the airport on the day of her departure, she was asked for her plane ticket. The border police questioned her about where she was going and why, while checking her Canadian visa. Once she arrives at the boarding gate, she is asked for her hotel confirmation, her Covid test, and proof that she lives in Canada (bill, taxes...). She gets on a plane with only about 30 people on board in total. Once on the plane, she was asked to fill out a sheet explaining her quarantine plan.
Arrival at the airport
She gets out of the plane, and proceeds directly to the passport check / performs a covid (second) test / visa. You have to go through the different checks "they do the Covid test and download the ArriveCan application which allows you to check your symptoms every day. Afterwards, you are also given another application to download called Switch Health (as well as a test kit to do a third test) so that your test is in the database. You will also be asked which hotel you are staying in, and then you can go there by shuttle bus or on foot" (if it is next to the airport). Upon arrival at the hotel, you will only be asked for the credit card and the reservation confirmation. The results for the Covid test at the airport were provided to her in about 24 hours by message.
The stay at the hotel
Circé has to stay at the Toronto hotel during the first week of protocol implementation. His testimony will especially underline the general lack of preparation following this unusual situation.
The person is alone in a hotel room (or with the family, depending on the reservation). "For the food, it's a big mess, so there was no organization at the beginning. There is a menu in the rooms and it is possible to order directly on the internet like a bit on UberEat. I could spend $125 per day which was included in the room price I paid. On the application, they say it takes 30 minutes but in the end, due to lack of organization, the food arrived almost 2h30 later. The next day, it's another story, every night before 10am, you have to order in advance the menu you want for the next day. It is necessary to fill a paper and to return it with what we want. At the end it was so much a mess that they removed the menus and asked only to choose between 2 dishes.
Usually you don't have to leave the hotel room, but technically there was nobody from the security in the building to watch. Some mornings you can hear children running in the corridors or people walking around who seem to be guests. There was no explanation for the garbage cans and I was also a bit afraid that the leftovers would rot. Nothing was explained knowing that these are rather small.
On the day of the check-out, people were in demonstration mode in the lobby. They were complaining about not having had any food. The problem is that these people are supposed to be confined for 3 days and went down to complain in the middle of those leaving. When I left the hotel, they didn't ask me for the covid test. Moreover, for my Uber, it was a pain in the ass. As my hotel was linked to the airport, I could not enter the airport without a plane ticket to reach the cab platform. But while negotiating, they let me pass. I was finally able to go home afterwards."
What next ?
After returning home, you should continue to fill out ArriveCan every day by the automatic email asking if you are symptom free. In addition, on the tenth day, you will need to use the Switch Health kit that is provided at the airport. You will have to perform a covid test on yourself, and someone will pick up the samples at your address on a specific day. The explanation video can be found here.
What should I do if I get tested positive for the airport Covid??
If you test positive for Covid as a result of the airport test, you will be required to go to a designated federal quarantine facility or other appropriate location to isolate yourself for the remainder of the 14-day quarantine period.
In terms of price
Circé paid directly upon receipt, taking into account what she had reserved on the government site. But one must be careful, because there may be additional costs depending on the hotel. There is a big lack of communication about what is included in the payment on the site.
In total she will have paid 1250$ for the 3 nights in the hotel. No extra charge has been asked for the covid test at Pearson airport and the covid test kit to be filled at home after 10 days. According to the government website, everything was included in the price.
I hope this article has helped you learn a little more about the current procedures for returning to Canada from your home country. I wish you all the best of luck in this period :)
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