What snowbirds need to know about getting home through Canada

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - With the winter weather finally broken, Alaska's snowbirds should be coming back home soon. However, the pandemic could certainly complicate those travel plans if they include driving through the Canadian border.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection responded to emails saying that Alaskan's returning to Alaska through Canada is considered essential travel.

On the Canada Border Security Agency website, the agency laid out that they are restricting non-essential travel to foreign nationals. Additionally, they've made it mandatory for anyone returning to Canada to quarantine for 14 days.

According to Jeremy Zidek with the Alaska Division of Homeland Security, Canada decides who is allowed to cross into their borders. While traveling through them is restricted, he said Alaskans can call and make a case to travel home.

"They're prohibiting non-essential travel, but you can talk to them about your specific situation and they may consider snowbirds returning to Alaska as essential travel," he said.

For those folks, once they get through the Canadian border, Zidek said they will be welcome back to Alaska with proper documentation. They will still have to sign the mandatory 14 day quarantine form, telling the state where they plan to quarantine.

Officials with the CBSA have not replied to Channel 2 information requests as of Tuesday evening.

However, the person who answered the information line said as of Tuesday, Alaskans with proof of residency would be allowed to pass through. In the days of coronavirus, where policies and information change rapidly, it's still recommended that snowbirds call ahead.

The number to contact the Canada Border Security Agency is 1-204-983-3500.

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