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Canadian snowbirds prepare for first winter at home in over a decade

Friday, October 2nd 2020, 4:20 pm - This winter will look and feel a lot different for this Nova Scotia couple

With leisure travel to the United States restricted by vehicle, Canadian citizens can still board a plane and fly down south if they'd like to.

Popular travel destinations like Arizona, California, and Florida do not require a 14-day quarantine period, but some Canadian snowbirds aren't convinced it's safe enough to go down yet.

Nova Scotia residents Ann and John Mackay have decided to stay put in Wolfville this year, breaking a 12-year tradition of heading south to their winter getaway home near Tampa.

Nova Scotia snowbirds staying home during winter Ann and John Mackay say they won't be heading south this winter as a precaution due to COVID-19. Courtesy: Nathan Coleman


Go HERE for our complete coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic


They've been keeping in touch with their American friends to get updates on the situation south of the border.

"A lot of them want to come to Canada," says John. "They want to come to Canada because of our low numbers so, we say look, we'd love to have you, but not sure we can fix that."

The Mackay’s say they're grateful to have their health, and love their home in the Annapolis Valley. So, why do they head south?

"It's really just the weather," Ann tells me. "It's not particularly the area, I mean, it'd be great if we could just move that weather up here."

Nova Scotia is home to fierce nor'easters and icy, slushy weather during the winter months, but the Mackay’s think they can handle it under the circumstances.

Nova Scotia residents Ann and John Mackay have decided to stay put in Wolfville this year, breaking a 12-year tradition of heading south to their wInter getaway home near Tampa. Nova Scotia residents Ann and John Mackay have decided to stay in Wolfville this year, breaking a 12-year tradition of heading south to their winter getaway home near Tampa. Courtesy: Nathan Coleman

"We'll do fine, you know, we'll watch The Weather Network and find out when the storms are coming," says John with a grin.

Some Canadian activities they've missed out on that they'll now be able to partake in include, "shoveling, salting driveways," says John. "Well, we could ski," Ann chimes in. "I think with winter, once you get past mid-January, the days are getting longer, and there's kind of hope and optimism that we're going to get through another winter."

"But then there's April."

April can be an up and down month in the Annapolis Valley.

"It's not as warm as you think it's supposed to be, like everywhere else you see people cherry blossoms breaking in other places and we get the, you know, it's still snowing out, it's raining, it's cold, it's damp," says Ann.

While a quarantine may not be required if you travel to the U.S. by air, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that for the first fourteen days you should :

  • Stay home as much as possible.
  • Avoid being around people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Consider getting tested for COVID-19.
  • The Canadian Snowbirds Association recommends that you contact your airline prior to departure in order to determine their policies as airlines continue to update these regularly.

Watch my full interview with the Mackay's in the video that leads this article.

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