Coronavirus: Some snowbirds choose to return to Canada, others stay in Florida

Ottawa’s directive to immediately return from international travel has left snowbirds grappling with whether to enter self-isolation in Canada or stay in sunnier climates.

The government’s strong suggestion came over the weekend as some countries closed their borders in an effort to stop COVID-19‘s march across the globe, raising the possibility that Canadians could get stuck abroad. The feds also called on everyone returning from abroad to stay in isolation for weeks.

But not all travellers were following the advice, including Alycin Hayes, who traded Ontario’s whiplash winter for the warmth of Gainesville, Fla. She said she’s not planning on returning immediately.

“I’m taking it one day at a time,” she said by phone on Sunday, noting that she’s far more comfortable in Florida.

“I have a place to stay,” she said. “My place in Canada is not very comfortable to live in right now. I think I’m better off to stay here, especially when there’s so much traffic.”

She said her house in Canada is poorly stocked, and her situation there would be uncertain.

“But people in Florida are used to hurricanes so one generally has a stockpile of a bit of canned goods and things anyway,” Hayes said.

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