Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Why some snowbirds are nonetheless heading south this winter regardless of COVID-19 and a closed land border | Carihargater

Regardless of the U.S. having the world’s highest number of COVID-19 cases, Canadian snowbird Elizabeth Evans is decided to move south subsequent month. That is as a result of her solely winter house is parked at an RV resort in Williston, Florida.

“I haven’t got a [winter] house right here,” mentioned Evans, who’s at the moment dwelling in her summer time trailer at a campground in Niagara Falls. “I haven’t got any winter garments.”

Evans is considered one of a quantity of snowbirds set on going to the U.S. this winter, regardless of the continued pandemic. However getting there will not be straightforward: To assist cease the unfold of COVID-19, the Canada-U.S. land border stays closed to non-essential traffic till at the least Oct. 21.

Evans believes the closure will likely be prolonged, so she plans to fly to Florida on Oct. 30 — two days earlier than the campground the place she’s dwelling closes for the season. 

“There is not any approach I’m staying right here,” she mentioned. “Even when I needed to get on the airplane buck-naked, I would be on it.”

Elizabeth Evans and buddy Susan Walley at at RV resort in Williston, Florida, the place Evans lives through the winters. (Submitted by Elizabeth Evans)

The Canadian Snowbird Affiliation — which has greater than 110,000 members — mentioned it is onerous to gauge at this level what proportion of its members will really head south this winter. 

Some snowbirds have already nixed their plans, whereas others are undecided. 

“A good portion of them are in a holding sample, simply to see what shakes out on the land border,” mentioned spokesperson Evan Rachkovsky.

WATCH | Alberta snowbirds planning to spend winter at house:

Snowbirds who would usually be making ready to move off for hotter climates are actually caught in Alberta making ready for winter because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 3:32

Some experts predict the Canada-U.S. land border might keep closed to non-essential journey till the brand new 12 months. 

Though Canadians can still fly to the U.S., Rachkovsky mentioned many snowbirds will not go with out their automobiles however cannot afford the large charges — between $1,500 and $6,000 — to ship their automobiles.

“It is not likely an possibility for a few of them to fly.”

Elizabeth Evans’ RV, which is parked year-round at an RV resort in Williston, Florida. (Submitted by Elizabeth Evans)

Evans is a kind of who would usually drive down to the U.S., which allowed her to move her family provides in her truck. She mentioned she’s cannot ship her truck full of baggage, so this 12 months she’s leaving it behind, together with many family requirements. 

However she’s nonetheless bent on going to the U.S., at the same time as well being specialists warn of a possible surge of COVID-19 cases within the fall. 

Evans mentioned she plans to take precautionary measures reminiscent of social distancing and hold to her RV resort. 

“I’ll take the danger as a result of I understand how to guard myself, and all people — at the least in my resort — follows the principles,” she mentioned. “I am extra involved about falling off my bicycle than I’m of COVID.”

Escape winter whereas isolating

Journey insurance coverage dealer Martin Firestone mentioned to this point lower than 10 per cent of his snowbird shoppers have made agency plans to go south this winter. He mentioned those that are going say they’ll intention to keep away from crowds, simply as they’d in Canada through the pandemic. 

“They will be prisoners of their developments or their condos,” mentioned Firestone, with Journey Safe in Toronto. “They’re saying, ‘I assume I would quite sit down in Florida than sit right here in Ontario and face the tough local weather.'”

Perry Cohen mentioned he and his spouse, Rose, plan to take all mandatory precautions once they head to their rental this winter in Deerfield Seashore, Florida. (Submitted by Perry Cohen)

That about sums up Perry Cohen’s itinerary. The snowbird — who’s considered one of Firestone’s shoppers — goals to move to his rental in Deerfield Seashore, Fla., in early December so long as the COVID-19 case rely stays low in that space.

Cohen, who lives in Toronto, mentioned he plans to take the mandatory precautions and stick to his gated neighborhood — all whereas having fun with the nice and cozy climate. 

“Why would I wish to be cooped up right here once I might be there, out within the sunshine, within the recent air?” he mentioned. “You’ve extra positives to go than to remain right here.”

Cohen additionally plans to fly to Florida and has a automobile parked at his rental. He mentioned an added reassurance for him is that he can now buy COVID-19 medical insurance coverage — simply in case he or his spouse did get the virus. 

“I like a whole bundle to know I am taken care of [if], God forbid, I’ve an issue.”

COVID-19 medical protection returns

A number of journey insurance coverage suppliers recently restarted selling COVID-19 medical coverage, after dropping it in March when the pandemic started its world unfold 

Firestone mentioned that even with the protection, snowbirds might face issues if the neighborhood the place they’re dwelling has an outbreak. 

“The hospitals will get crammed, the intensive care models will get crammed, after which the enjoyable will start, no matter whether or not you’ve got insurance coverage or not.”

Cohen argues Canada might additionally expertise overrun hospitals. Presently, COVID-19 case numbers are surging in Ontario and Quebec

“You’re taking an opportunity and go, as a result of we will have the identical drawback right here.”

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