Orillia senior Jack Reid and his wife Vilda are stuck in a 14-day quarantine after arriving home from a nine-day stay at their house in Florida.
Reid and his wife, who are both vaccinated, had difficulty accessing the ArriveCAN app on their phones and tablet.
“On the plane home I had mentioned to the airline hostess that I was having trouble accessing the app, and she said there is no problem. (She said) at Customs they will help us and give us some forms to fill out and away we will go,” he explained
“When we went to the Customs Agent, we gave her our passports and documents to show that we had our two vaccines and the documents from the pharmacy in Florida that show that we had our negative COVID tests," Reid explained.
"She asked about the app, and we explained that we couldn’t access it, so she gave us these two extensive forms to fill out to answer questions about where we’ve been and about our documents.”
The Customs Agent handed Reid and his wife a phone number to call within 24 hours. On Tuesday morning they called the number and were told by a Canada Health agent that they needed to quarantine for the next 14 days.
“We can’t leave our house, we can’t associate with anybody, we can’t use public walkways, the only thing we can leave for is medical emergencies,” Reid said.
“We have to phone them every day for 14 days, and we have to be prepared for them to call at any time or knock on our door. That’s where we are at.”
The only advice Reid has been given to dispute the matter is to call the Canadian embassy.
“I thought that was silly, so we didn’t do that. My wife was on the phone for three hours trying to find a way around this, but there just isn’t a way and we are locked in.”
Reid said he feels like he and his wife are being punished by Canada Customs for not having the ArriveCAN app.
“It’s a mess, and it’s looking like we will have to do another COVID test at a local pharmacy in eight days,” he explained.
“Now we can’t go grocery shopping. I have to give blood next Wednesday, I have a chiropractor appointment this Friday, I have an appointment to take my car to Barrie to have it serviced ... and we can’t do anything.”
Reid is frustrated with the stipulation given that he has all the right paperwork to prove that he and his wife are COVID-free.
“We wouldn’t have been able to even get on the airplane down in Florida if we had COVID, so it doesn’t make any sense,” he said.
“My son phoned me and said he has Leafs tickets for next Saturday. I’m a big Leaf fan, but I can’t go to the game. I want to say to hell with it and just do it, but then if they phone and we aren’t here then we are subject to fines up to $5,000.”
Reid isn’t even sure if he is allowed to be out on the tractor mowing the lawn.
“I downloaded the app and tried to use it, we had the paperwork done the way we were supposed to, but this is where we’ve ended up,” he said.