An American tourist could be on the hook to the Canadian government to the tune of half-million dollars for crossing the border illegally more than once.
John Pennington of Walton, Kentucky, violated Canada’s Covid-19 travel restrictions more than once to travel to Banff National Park in June.
Pennington was traveling from Alaska to the U.S. when he stopped at Rimrock Resort Hotel inside Banff National Park, which is currently off-limits to American travelers—taking advantage of what has come to be known as the “Alaska loophole” and, in turn, violating Canada’s Quarantine Act.
Canada’s Southern Border between the country and the U.S. is closed to U.S. travelers, with the exception of those traveling to and from Alaska.
Those traveling to Alaska are required to take the most direct route and are prohibited from visiting national parks or tourist sites. These travelers are identified by U.S. license plates as well as tags displayed on rearview mirrors indicating the date on which they must leave Canada.
“The vast majority of Americans and vehicles with American license plates are people who are here for legitimate reasons,” a Royal Canadian Mounted Police sergeant said to CBC.
Pennington was ordered to pay a $900 fine and ordered to remain at his hotel until the next day, at which time he was to leave. However, after his departure, Pennington was spotted at another nearby tourist site. This time, he was arrested and now must appear in a Canadian court in November. His fine could reportedly be more than $500,000.
Several other Americans have reportedly been stopped for violating the rules, however, Pennington is the only one who has been apprehended for multiple violations.
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