Border exemptions for British Columbians otherwise stranded by floods

British Columbians who need to cross the Canada/U.S. border in order to get around the flooded highways to get home will not be subject to the usual COVID-19 testing requirements when they cross the line.

Mudslides have led to closures on Highways 1, 5, 3, and 99, effectively cutting Metro Vancouver off from the rest of the province and Canada.

Under the regular rules, people crossing into Canada need to show a negative PCR test, taken no longer than 72 hours before travel, and those who do not provide a negative test are subject to a two-week quarantine.

Canada Border Services has confirmed with CityNews there will be exemptions to testing rules if people need to get past the blockages by driving through the U.S. to get home.

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One such example would be someone who flew into Vancouver and needs to get to the B.C. Interior.

That’s the situation for Ravinder Dhaliwal, who lives in Kamloops. He flew back from Mexico, arriving at Vancouver International Airport.

“We were tested before we came in from Mexico,” he explained. “Then my wife randomly got selected for another PCR test here, which she tested negative. So she can use that test for 72 hours to cross borders.”

However, Dhaliwal’s last test was done on Friday. That means, before the CBSA’s announcement Tuesday, he would have been required to get another test in B.C. in order to drive from Vancouver into Washington state and then to the border crossing in Osoyoos to get home.

CBSA says agents were issued a directive Tuesday to exclude travellers like Dhaliwal from COVID-19 testing and quarantine.

Watch: Canadian man says he’s been getting free COVID tests in the U.S.A.

Similar exemptions were also in effect during the summer at the height of the forest fire season.

With files from Lisa Steacy

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