April 25, 2021 at 6:29 pm #655fclarkParticipant
We had a family emergency and had to suddenly change our return plans from Mexico to
Dallas was a nightmare. You wouldn’t think there was a pandemic apart from the fact that everyone wore masks. Huge crowds, no social distancing, no chairs blocked off for the 2m rule. Yuck. But our plane to Vancouver had just 32 passengers on it.
Arriving in YVR, there are no bathrooms between the plane and customs (so go to loo on the plane … unfortunately we didn’t). We lined up with other passengers from Taipei and Seattle. There were only 3 border guards on duty. We waited 2 hours in the line (note ….no bathroom break). We had applied for quarantine exemption – had all the documents in place, had completed ArriveCan saying we were applying for an exemption, had arranged a Covid friendly AirBnB and asked the landlord to complete all the documents, had read the website over and over and were sure we qualified. Therefore, we hadn’t booked a Quarantine Hotel as we knew when the exemption was granted, there would be no hotel refund. The border guard was super nice, and said it was up to Public Health Officers to decide. There were 3 of them behind the guards, equipped with 2 burly policemen. The PHO officers were uncooperative, dispassionate and we were denied. We were told to re-apply and they may reconsider after our 3 days in the hotel, but we could not to go to the Island to help our family member and had to return to our home address in Kelowna after the quarantine. A woman traveling on the same plane as us whose father was dying, was also denied. A Dutch man was furious. A very elderly, tiny disabled lady, travelling alone but who lived in Vancouver, was given a $3400 ticket. When she phoned her daughter to come and get her, they very nastily told her to wait outside. Shameful. Many foreign travellers had no idea of what was going on. Many folk in tears. We were all given the hotel list and we had to phone and find a hotel …. at 9h30pm at night! Everywhere was full. We eventually found a room at Coast Airport Hotel for $1556 for two people. but they told us there was no food available, so buy something at the airport. Everything at the airport was closed. We arrived hungry.
The hotel was a disgrace. Our room was filthy! And tiny! We had no space for 2 suitcases and 2 carry-ons. There was a raw wire lying on the floor. Someone else’s hair in the shower. Mould in the bathroom. Mould on the drapes. Mould on the window frames. The ice machine was broken. All vending machines were empty. At 7am the men on the construction site just outside our window, along with their large noisy machinery, started work (the only nice thing was that they were all Mexican!). We couldn’t even listen to the TV news it was so loud! Breakfast arrived. The coffee was foul and my husband’s bacon wasn’t cooked. Disgraceful.
At 9am we got our results (another App we had to scan and download). Negative of course. We booked a rental car and checked out. We politely begged for a refund, but they wouldn’t budge. So, $1566 for a few hours of sleep in a sub-standard room and a bad breakfast.
So, we had a dreadful experience, and this is the first of a serious complaints I am planning on writing. We are law abiding seniors. We were treated like criminals. We had one vaccine in Mexico and before the family emergency, we had planned to get the second before our return. We do not deserve to be treated like this! We left BC early October when none of these rules were in place. And more importantly, elderly ladies and exhausted foreigners should not be treated like this. At this moment, I am ashamed of Canada, the country I chose as my home when emigrating over 4 decades ago.
My advice – take the land border. My lingering message after this dreadful experience is that it doesn’t always pay to follow the rules and be honest. So sad.
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