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Americans heading to Alaska and diverting in Banff told 'Now is not the time to visit'

Canadian border agents have been told to make sure they only allow essential travel following reports of Americans detouring to Banff en route to Alaska.
Sam Edwards High Level, Alberta

Canadian border agents have been told to make sure they only allow essential travel from the US following reports of Americans detouring to Banff National Park after being permitted to drive to Alaska, reports CTV News.

Unconfirmed reports have arisen about a Texas family boasting about vacationing in the Banff town-side in early June. They are reported to have entered the country after telling border agents that they were passing through to Alaska.

The federal government announced on Tuesday that the Canada-US border would remain closed to non-essential travel until July 21.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said she has been informed of the reports of visitors detouring to go to Banff.

"In terms of the situation which has been reported on in Banff, we are very clear that Canada's rules are: you can enter for essential reasons, but not for non-essential ones," Freeland said.

"The RCMP in Banff is following up on this particular report, and is encouraging Canadians to let them know if they see other people who seem to fall into this category."

Freeland noted that Public Safety Minister Bill Blair has asked the Canadian Border Services Agency to make sure people entering the country are “truly coming for essential reasons” and are following Canada’s measures to avoid further spread of coronavirus.

"These measures are in place for a reason. They are to protect us, and they are to protect our neighbors."

In Golden, BC, on June 11, private campground owners noticed that a group staying on their property was from Alaska and had come back through Canada after leaving Arizona. The owners then spoke to bylaw officers about the situation and were told that the group must quarantine for 14 days. They then had to deliver groceries to the group during the quarantine period.

Freeland asks that Americans postpone their travels to Canada until a safer time.

"I love the Rockies too. I grew up in Alberta. Personally, I can think of no better place to spend time," she said. "But now is not the time to visit, hopefully we will be back to normal at some point soon."

Banff officials say the issue is not a major one and ask residents not to make assumptions as soon as they see out-of-the-country plates.

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