Full flight leaves Vancouver and Calgary bound for Hawaii despite new rules – Vancouver Sun

Upon arrival the passengers are free to roam, having proven before departure that they do not have COVID-19.

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Another plane full of Canadians has departed Vancouver and Calgary bound for Hawaii, despite a new law that will add $2,000 to each passenger’s vacation.

According to the Government of Hawaii’s COVID-19 travel data portal, 114 passengers from Calgary and Vancouver arrived on Saturday Feb. 13 aboard a WestJet flight.

There were no flights from Western Canada to Hawaii during the previous six days, after 123 people arrived last Saturday, and over 100 the Saturday before. With social distancing in place, 100 passengers makes for a full flight.

Upon arrival the passengers are free to roam in Hawaii, having proven before departure that they do not have COVID-19 (as part of Hawaii’s Safe Travels Program.)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan have asked that no one travel anywhere on non-essential business, though it is not strictly outlawed.

Instead, the government has been gradually applying travel pressures, like the Jan. 7 rule that anyone coming to Canada by air had to prove a negative COVID-19 test result before departing home.

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As of next Sunday, all passengers arriving by air into Canada will have to take a test upon arrival and then stay in a government-approved hotel for three days until they get a negative test result — this is expected to cost about $2,000.

People crossing the U.S./Canada land border on non-essential business (making up five per cent of all crossings at the moment) will also have to take a test in the U.S. and prove a negative result within three days before crossing.

Currently, one per cent of the total cases of COVID-19 in Canada are explicitly linked to travel outside the country, and a further 0.8 per cent from contact with a traveller.

Latest Statistics Canada data shows the number of Canadians returning via the land border was down 91.4 per cent last month, compared to January 2020. The number of U.S. travellers dropped by 93.3 per cent.

At airports using electronic kiosks tracking arrivals, the number of non-residents arriving dropped 94.7 per cent in January when compared to last year.

The agency noted “the number of Canadian residents returning from abroad via these same airports appeared to increase steadily toward the end of the month.”

— with a file from Canadian Press

dcarrigg@postmedia.com