2 travelers fined nearly $20K for trying to enter Canada with fake COVID-19 papers
Two people who gave false information about their COVID-19 vaccination status to authorities while trying to enter Toronto from the U.S. have just been slapped with very expensive penalties.
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Each traveler will have to pay $19,720 Canadian dollars (nearly $16,000) in fines after Canadian officials say they provided falsified proof of vaccination and COVID-19 tests taken prior to their departure, during the week of July 18.
Along with the faked vaccination information, they also did not follow the mandate to stay at a government-authorized hotel and test upon arrival, according to a press release. Ignoring quarantine instructions when entering the country can lead to a fine of $5,000 for each day the order is not followed. The two people in question could have faced even steeper penalties, considering that submitting false information about vaccination status could have led to a fine of up to $750,000 and up to six months in prison.
Related: When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery
Canada's entry requirements have remained strict since the start of the pandemic as it attempts to contain the spread of the coronavirus. However, some protocols were relaxed last month. Canadian citizens, permanent residents and people registered under the Indian Act and protected persons can enter the country but must show a negative coronavirus test result. Most travelers must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, although fully vaccinated people can skip it. Dual Canadian citizens can enter with a valid passport or special authorization.
In a statement, the Canadian government said, "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."
However, travel restrictions for fully vaccinated Americans looking to go north are just days away from being relaxed.
Related: Canada will reopen to vaccinated Americans Aug. 9
As of Aug. 9, Canada will reopen its border to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Travelers must still meet pre-entry coronavirus testing requirements and submit a quarantine plan to enter.
Related: When will Canada open to Americans?
Travel from Canada into the U.S. will remain severely limited for at least several more weeks. The U.S. just extended the closure of its Canadian borders until at least Aug. 21.
Related: Canada to enforce hotel quarantine for arrivals, ban travel to Mexico and the Caribbean
Several U.S. states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have had to intervene to stop the selling and use of fake vaccine cards, but this is one of the first incidents that has been made public of people faking documents to cross international borders.