Canada’s harsh winters see many residents fleeing their home country for warmer locations. In fact, almost one million Canadians spend the cold months in Florida and other southern states. But last winter, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many “snowbirds” to cancel their plans. According to statistics, only 34,000 crossed the U.S. border to spend the colder months in their winter homes during the early months of 2021 — just a fraction of previous years. Traveling to Florida during Covid has proven to be more difficult than previous years.
Those who were determined to spend last winter in Florida faced quarantine upon their arrival back to Canada. They were also required to stay in government-approved hotels for up to three days while awaiting COVID-19 test results, at their own expense. Although the pandemic is an ever-evolving situation, vaccination has now changed the course of traveling to Florida during Covid — and the guidance provided by both the U.S. and Canadian governments.
It’s critical for Canadians who are planning to spend time this winter in Florida to understand the current COVID-19 travel requirements to and from the state so they can plan accordingly. As the Delta variant continues to spread and COVID-19 cases increase nationwide, it’s also essential to remain informed regarding any updates to the guidance provided by both countries.
Florida currently has no travel restrictions in place for Canadians or residents of other countries. Those who enter the state are free to do so without quarantining, regardless of vaccination status. However, as of January 26, 2021, the U.S. requires that travelers entering from other countries get tested for COVID-19 three days prior to the departure of their flights. They must also show proof of a negative test result or documentation that they have recovered from the virus.
While there is no statewide mask mandate in place, the Florida Department of Health is advising those within the state to wear face coverings indoors and outdoors if it is not possible to practice social distancing. It also advises to avoid closed spaces and crowded settings.
Canada has had strict travel requirements in place since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The border has recently been opened to Americans with proof of vaccination and travel restrictions have been lifted for citizens who are vaccinated.
Critically, the Canadian government continues to advise residents against non-essential travel, and residents will face certain requirements upon their return. Those traveling by air back to Canada will be required to undergo a health check before boarding their flight. If the flight operator observes an individual exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, they may be refused board for 14 days or until they can present a certificate that the symptoms are unrelated to the virus.
In addition to being aware of the restrictions of traveling to Florida during Covid, Canadian residents should take note that they are only permitted to spend six months in Florida under current law. However, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott recently introduced legislation that, if passed, would allow some Canadian citizens to vacation in the United States for up to eight months.
If the “Canadian Snowbirds Act” becomes law, it would permit Canadian citizens over the age of 50 who rent or own a residence in the U.S. to remain in the country for 240 days during the year. Additionally, the legislation would prohibit them from working for American employers while living here, or seeking public assistance. Notably, residents of Canada who remain in the U.S. for more than six months out of the year are considered U.S. residents for the purpose of paying taxes — and they must pay federal income taxes whether the income is earned in the United States or Canada.
If you are a Canadian who spends winters in Florida and have questions about the COVID-19 travel restrictions — and your legal rights as a condo owner — a knowledgeable Florida condominium attorney can help. The Law Offices of Herb M. Milgrim, P.A. is dedicated to providing high-quality legal services and adept counsel for clients who own condos, units that are part of homeowners’ associations, and co-ops for a broad scope of housing matters.
We serve the needs of clients throughout Florida and offer skillful counsel to resolve disputes in Broward, Dade, and Palm Beach Counties, as well as Miami, Naples, Brickell, Hollywood, Davie, Pembroke Pines, Hallandale, Sunny Isles, Aventura, North Miami, Boca Raton, and West Palm Beach. We exclusively represent owners and never the condo associations or their boards. To schedule a consultation, we welcome you to contact us at (954) 966-3909.