Americans fined for breaking COVID rules in Fort St. John

Three Americans were fined $1,000 each after breaking federal COVID-19 travel rules and dining at a restaurant in Fort St. John this summer.

It happened Aug. 31, when they stopped and dined inside a city restaurant while travelling from Washington state to Alaska, the CBC reports.

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Canadian border security rules were tightened in July, requiring American travellers to take the most direct route to their destination, avoiding unnecessary stops and contact with others, using drive thru restaurants, and wearing a mask “while in transit” among others.

BC RCMP spokesperson Janelle Shoihet told CBC that the Americans entered the Fort St. John restaurant without masks and dined and interacted with two Canadian diners both inside and outside the restaurant.

Police were called by a restaurant employee “concerned about the well-being of the patrons and the employees,” Shoihet told CBC. "There were a number of violations."

In a followup, Shoihet said she couldn’t provide details about the restaurant where the incident occurred. The two people who had close contact with the Americans were told to self-isolate for 14 days, she said.

“The individuals were not escorted from town as they were given a transitory time to Alaska and they were within the time allotted,” Shoihet said.

When travelling through Canada, Americans are issued a rear-view mirror tag that includes the date they must leave Canada.

At the end of August, a family of five driving from Alaska to Washington was escorted out of Canada when they failed to check in at the border by their departure date, the CBC reported.

They were found in Vancouver after their licence plate number was circulated among police agencies, and three adults in the family were fined $500 each.

The BC Centre for Disease Control reports 15 cases in northeast B.C. from Sept. 18 to Oct. 1, and 134 cases total since the start of the year.

Across northern B.C., there were 19 active cases as of Oct. 5. There were 15 recoveries, and four new cases reported in the region on Monday.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at 

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