OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada is tightening its rules for foreign travelers who must transit through the country to get to Alaska, the government said on Thursday, after several U.S. citizens were fined by police for making detours to sightsee.
The Canada-U.S. border has been closed to non-essential travel since mid-March, but returning Canadians, essential workers, truck drivers, foreigners reunifying with family, and people driving to Alaska have been allowed in.
Canada has significantly slowed the spread of the coronavirus compared to the United States, where on Wednesday the country’s three biggest states all set one-day records for fatalities from COVID-19. Deaths in all of Canada have been in the single digits several times in the past two weeks.[L2N2F01FH]
Everyone entering Canada except essential workers currently must quarantine for 14 days, but not all have complied. Some people -- including U.S. citizens who have stopped at the picturesque Banff National Park while en route to Alaska -- have been fined by police.
Under the new rules, which will take effect on Friday, travelers heading to Alaska for non-discretionary purposes must enter the country at one of five specified border crossings here in Western Canada.
Travelers will be given a “hang tag” that must be attached to their rear view mirror for the duration of their trip to or from Alaska and which clearly states the date they must depart Canada, officials said.
They will also be required to use the most direct route available, “while avoiding all national parks, leisure site sites and tourism activities,” the notice reads, and must also alert Canadian border authorities of their departure from Canada before entering the United States.
Reporting by Kelsey Johnson in Ottawa; Editing by Alistair Bell
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