Dave Garlick and his wife Linda were enjoying the view on their cruise to Alaska in mid-July until Dave somehow contracted COVID-19 near the end of the trip.
Garlick spent the last two days of the cruise isolated in his cabin and then, per protocol, the Holland America cruise line escorted him to a bus with 14 other people who then proceeded to the Sheraton at the airport. from Vancouver to spend another eight days in quarantine.
Under federal rules, Canadians returning from abroad must self-isolate if they have tested positive for COVID-19.
Linda tested negative so she went home.
The hotel quarantine cost $5,700, which he had to pay upfront. He said Holland America would reimburse him for any amounts that his travel insurance did not cover.
Garlick admits the experience wasn’t a big inconvenience to him, but he warns others to be prepared for the possibility that it could happen to them.
“If people want to pretend COVID is gone, then they’re really faking it. I think if you’re going on a cruise, you’re taking a very calculated risk,” he said, adding that he was not versus. government requirements.
“I don’t think it’s time to drop all these regulations.”
Epidemiologist Colin Furness opposes hotel quarantines, saying hotels are not quarantine facilities and there are still opportunities for spread.
He said he believed more should be done to improve air quality in public places and that people should be asked to wear respirators, such as the N-95 variety, when in contact. with others instead of quarantining.
“I don’t think there are as many benefits to quarantining the way we do. It would be better if we had a consistent rule that said if you’ve traveled, you must wear a respirator mask outside in public during 10 days,” Furness said, adding that the measures are needed to stop the spread of variants.
CBC News has contacted the Public Health Agency of Canada for comment.
Jacqueline Mizon, owner of LaSalle Travel Services Inc., advises travelers to purchase travel insurance that covers trip cancellation and medical issues.
“At the moment, because we are not considered non-essential, most insurance companies cover you. As soon as we are considered non-essential travel [by the federal government] then you have to get the COVID medical insurance,” Mizon said.
Mizon said there haven’t been many instances of people she booked having had to quarantine, maybe only one or two.
As for Garlick, he said his quarantine experience was not bad.
“My wife calls it a writer’s retreat,” recalled the retired school principal. “She went online, found two notepads for me, sent them to me. They were there in a day. So I had four pens and two notepads and two good books to read.”