Kentucky Man Accused Of Breaking Canada’s COVID-19 Rules Faces $569,000 Fine

September 12, 2020 in News by RBN Staff

People stroll through the town of Banff inside Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada, April 21, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck / With AFP Story: Environment-Canada-parks-conservation-tourism,FEATURE (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

by Samantha Raphelson

A Kentucky man accused of breaking Canada’s coronavirus rules — twice — could be forced to pay a $569,000 fine ($750,000 Canadian), spend up to six months in prison, or both.

John Pennington of Walton, Ky., was initially fined $910 ($1,200 Canadian) on June 25 after an employee at a Banff hotel where he was staying suspected he was violating Alberta’s coronavirus regulations, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cpl. Tammy Keibel told NPR.

Pennington was told to stay in his hotel until leaving the next day. But the following afternoon, police spotted his car at a local tourist attraction, and he was arrested and charged with violating Canada’s Quarantine Act.

Canada closed its border to Americans on March 21 to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, but Americans can still enter the country if they are going to or from Alaska. Some Americans are reportedly using the loophole to cross the border into Canada and stay there.

At the border, the Canada Border Services Agency directs Americans to take the most direct route through Canada to get to Alaska or the lower 48 states. They are prohibited from visiting national parks, leisure sites and tourist attractions, and they must undergo quarantine if they stay in a hotel. Visitors must also display a hang tag in their vehicle with a mandatory departure date.