Amid COVID-19 pandemic, many Montreal travellers feeling the effects of closed borders

Passenger traffic is quickly slowing at Trudeau airport as flights continue to get cancelled. Normally one of the busiest airports in Canada, Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport is looking more like a ghost town.

More people are reluctant to travel, but those travelling are trying to return home.

For many travellers, their business trips have been cancelled, forcing them to return home — including Yvan Deziel, who fears that his family income is at stake.

“I’m the one who is bringing the money in, so I feel a little bit bad about all this,” said Deziel, a local businessperson.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. My wife, she just lost maybe her job, and she does nails so I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I’m coming home not sure what it’s going to be like when I get to my house.”

Pierre-Olivier Lefebvre, who lives in Trois-Rivières, was in Chicago for an internship, working with ministers and governments. The internship was supposed to be until July but he’s coming home early due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We were working closely with the Quebec government and they called me and told me, ‘I think it’s time for you to go home now,’” Olivier told Global News.

“For the sake of my health and the health of people I hang out with, I think this is understandable” added Olivier, who said he’s upset his internship has been cut short but is playing it safe.

With the closure of the U.S.-Canada border, Canadians are scrambling to get back home and Americans are trying to find ways to leave before things worsen. That’s the case for Marie Saadeh, an American student studying at McGill University.

Initially she wanted to stay in Montreal, but she realized that returning home to Washington, D.C. was the smart move.

“I had to get out really quick because my parents want me home. I was playing on staying but no, there’s sense of urgency to get out” Saadeh told Global News.

Saadeh explained that many of her follow classmates were scrambling to decide whether to go home or stay in the city, something she said almost impacted her decision.

”I do know a lot students are doing that and a lot of students are leaving, so I was kind of caught in between on what to do,” said Saadeh.

Passengers are just hoping the borders will eventually re-open and traffic returns to normal. The problem: no one knows when either will happen.

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