At the Calgary International Airport, mandatory self-isolation rules take effect
A number of flights from the U.S. arrived in Calgary Thursday, each one with only a handful of passengers
Travellers coming through the Calgary International Airport say they're ready to head into the now-mandatory quarantine.
Mandatory self-isolation rules now apply to all international travellers entering Alberta through Calgary's airport, one of only a few currently allowed accepting such flights.
The few flights that are arriving have only a handful of passengers — Canadians who the federal government has urged to come back as the world reckons with COVID-19, the highly contagious novel coronavirus that has made thousands ill worldwide.
Two of those passengers, Matthew Riesemeyer and Veronica Marriott, had been working from home in Dallas but recently decided to come back to Calgary.
Now they must self-isolate for 14 days, a fact they were reminded of immediately when stepping off the plane.
"Stay away from everyone, don't go to the grocery stores, make sure if you need food, have someone drop it off," Riesemeyer said.
"I think it's the best thing for everyone," Marriott said.
Officials with Alberta Health Services meet each international passenger as they arrive to inform them of the quarantine. Riesemeyer and Marriott were headed directly to an Airbnb for two weeks, as they have renters in their home.
If travellers violate the mandatory requirement, police and peace officers could fine them $1,000. Courts could also imposed penalties of up to $500,000.
Norberto Flores, returned from Seattle, stepped into the airport wearing a face mask. He said officials asked about his health before he boarded his flight in Seattle.
"They do ask me if I'm sick, but they never check my temperature," Flores said.
The airport is dotted with signs to remind travellers to go straight home and self-isolate.
The Calgary International Airport has a reminder posted to its website that quarantine officials from the Public Health Agency of Canada are also at the airport, watching for people with symptoms.
Officials say all travellers should wash their hands as soon as they get off the plane, practice social distancing, and obey self-isolation guidelines — which means going straight home.
With files from Bryan Labby