FILE – People walk across a street in Banff, Alta., in Banff National Park, Friday, July 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Kentucky man faces $750K fine for breaking Canadian quarantine rules in Alberta Rockies

Quarantine Act charge came after initial fine, warning

A Kentucky man could face a fine of up to $750,000 or six months in jail for allegedly violating a quarantine order in the Alberta Rockies in late June.

John Pennington, 40, was initially given a $1,200 ticket on June 25 after staff at a Banff hotel called the RCMP saying they believed the United States citizen was violating the Alberta Public Health Act during the COVID-19 pandemic.

American visitors have been able to use a loophole allowing them to travel through Canada on the way to and from Alaska.

“RCMP attended the hotel and as a result of their investigation, they found a second individual in his presence, a female from Calgary, and found him to be breaching the requirements to quarantine while he travelled through Alberta so he was issued a ticket under the Alberta Public Health Act,” said RCMP Cpl. Tammy Keibel in Calgary.

She said officers received a second complaint the next day after someone spotted a car with American plates in a parking lot near the gondola to Sulphur Mountain.

“They located Mr. Pennington up on Sulphur Mountain. As a result of him again allegedly being in violation of the quarantine through his travels, there was some consultation with a quarantine officer in Calgary and the decision was made to charge Mr. Pennington under the federal Quarantine Act,” Keibel said.

“He was arrested and subsequently released for a court date in November.”

Keibel said there were nine tickets given out in Alberta by the end of June and the one charge under the Quarantine Act but she wasn’t aware of any others.

She said those violating the rules are given strict instructions and Pennington had received a warning after his initial ticket.

“You don’t expect it. You would hope people would follow the direction provided and comply with the laws in place, especially after it was made clear what the expectations are,” she said.

Keibel said Pennington was escorted out of the park boundaries and told to continue on his journey.

Stricter rules were put into place as of July 31 for Americans entering Canada who say they are headed to Alaska.

The Canada Border Services Agency only allows such travellers to enter at one of five crossings: Abbotsford-Huntingdon (British Columbia), Kingsgate (British Columbia), Osoyoos (British Columbia), Coutts (Alberta) and North Portal (Saskatchewan).

Drivers are allowed a reasonable period of stay to make the transit and are limited to travel within Canada using the most direct route to Alaska.

They are barred from driving through national parks, leisure sites and tourism locations and receive a hang tag for their rear-view mirror indicating the date they must depart Canada.

READ MORE: RCMP hand out $8,400 in fines to U.S. travellers stopped at Banff National Park

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

AlbertaBanffCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lake Country’s top paid employee retires

Deputy CAO moves up the ranks to fill the position

Okanagan whisky lottery adds new twists

Winners of Okanagan Spirits’ Laird of Fintry lottery announced in four batches beginning Sept. 28

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

United Way celebrates seven decades of impact in Southern Interior

Organization sees issues with poverty, mental health and addictions, heighten during the pandemic

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

Kelowna truck driver named ‘Highway Angel’

Donna Wright called 911 after stumbling upon a semi-truck rollover on Highway 1 in June

B.C. marriage annulled because husband was unable to have sex with wife

Husband did not disclose any sexual health concerns to his wife prior to marriage

White Rock’s namesake spray-painted with Black Lives Matter slogan

Vandalism occurred sometime between Friday and Saturday

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. VOTES 2020: B.C. Liberals vow to eliminate sales tax for a year

From 7% to zero, then back in at 3% to stimulate economy

The holiday everyone needs this year: Vote for your favourite in Fat Bear Week 2020

Voters will get to decide who gets to take home this year’s most coveted prize

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Most Read