Justin Trudeau – Conservative MP and travel agency react to new international travel restrictions
While Hoback encouraged residents to follow the orders from public health officials, he admitted he feels frustrated with the context leading to Trudeau’s announcement. He believes Trudeau and the Liberal federal government have been reactive, rather than proactive, to the COVID-19 landscape.
“You see things happening here and you know you need to secure vaccines… you know you need the appropriate testing facilities and tools, so get those for our front-line workers and travellers,” Hoback said. “There are things this government could have done and should have been doing proactively to prevent us from getting to this stage. You have very few tools left in the toolbox now and one of them is to say, ‘you can’t go anywhere or do anything,’ and that’s unfortunate because other countries aren’t acting this way. When you don’t have the tools to provide that… then you’re stuck with what we have today.”
Hoback acknowledged the government must balance numerous factors, such as the economy and mental health, before making these decisions. To him, a bright spot is the restrictions now provide clarity regarding travelling to sunny destinations.
“We did have Health Canada recommendations not to travel, but they’re only recommendations,” he said. “Now we have a rule of law… maybe that’s a better way to go. There’s no gray area, it’s black and white. There just won’t be a flight to Mexico, so you won’t go. I think people found it very confusing. The government is recommending no travel, yet Air Canada is advertising a flight to Hawaii… those always send contradictory messages to people.”
A concern for Hoback is people who are already in Mexico or another sunny destination. He said there are more questions than answers for those already abroad and hoping to get home leading up to Jan. 31. He said he’d reserve judgement on the quarantine and hotel process for returning travellers.
Hoback said the Conservatives are likely to bring suggestions to the House of Commons in response to the restrictions. His next shift is between Feb. 15 and 22. Until then, his message to residents is there’s light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how frustrating things may be.
“We have to be cautious and do those things to keep us and our loved ones safe. So there is another Christmas or another day down the road where we can all get together and socialize like we used to,” he said.
Not much change for travel agency
A travel agency in Tisdale said Trudeau’s announcement means business has halted, as winter is peak sunny destination travel time.
However, Lisa Merriman from Travel 4-U said no one has had to cancel trips, as locals have elected not to travel during the pandemic.
“I’ve spent most of my time cancelling trips, getting refunds, and doing insurance claims for my clients,” Merriman said. “I am very confident people are looking forward to travelling again and are looking at their bucket list to revamp which trips to consider more than ever. I would encourage people to start looking at booking into the future as there are some great opportunities being offered for late 2021 and 2022.”
Merriman said they respect the federal government’s decision.
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