It’s one thing to refuse to get vaccinated against covid-19 or tested for the virus — precautions that are, unfortunately, not mandatory in many parts of the world — but it’s another thing to blatantly lie to authorities about it, especially when you’re visiting another country.
Canadian authorities announced that they recently busted two idiots travelling from the U.S. to Toronto for failing to comply with entry requirements. According to a news release from the Public Health Agency of Canada, the travellers provided false information related to proof of vaccination credentials and pre-departure tests. In addition, they also failed to stay in government-authorised accommodations, which is a requirement for people who are not vaccinated, and carry out covid-19 arrival tests.
The travellers, who arrived in Toronto the week of July 18, received eight fines and will have to pay $US19,720 ($26,845) each.
“The Government of Canada will continue to investigate incidents reported and will not hesitate to take enforcement action where it is warranted to protect the health of Canadians from the further spread of COVID-19 and its variants of concern,” the Public Health Agency of Canada said in the release.
While that may sound like a hefty chunk of cash, the travellers could have been fined a lot more and even faced prison time. Canadian authorities say that travellers violating any quarantine or isolation instructions given by a screening or quarantine officer upon entry to the country could face $US5,000 ($6,807) in fines for each day they break the rules or for each violation. More serious penalties can lead to six months in prison and/or $US750,000 ($1,020,975) in fines.
Under current Canadian travel regulations, fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents no longer must spend time in quarantine when they enter the country. The regulation also applies to fully vaccinated foreign nationals that have an exemption to enter the country. (Non-essential travel by foreigners will not be allowed until August 9). However, to be able to opt out of quarantine, travellers must present documents that prove their vaccination status and upload them to the ArriveCAN app.
Travellers who aren’t vaccinated like the two in this case are required to stay in a government-approved hotel for three days, quarantine for 14 days, and carry out covid-19 tests before their flight’s departure, after their flight’s arrival, and eight days later, CTV News explained.
“All travellers arriving in Canada are obligated by Canadian law to respond truthfully to all questions,” the Public Health Agency of Canada said. “Providing false information and/or documents to a Government of Canada official upon entry to Canada or making false statements or presenting fraudulent documents, such as vaccination credentials, is a serious offence and may result in fines and/or criminal charges.”
All in all, lying to authorities is a bad idea. On a related note, it also seems like it would take more work. Think about it. Presumably the two travellers in question had to forge authentic-looking documents. It’s much easier to just get vaccinated and get tested instead of going through all that hassle. And while we’re on the subject of wasting time, just imagine how the travellers’ trip turned out after being caught with their pants on fire.