Canadian snowbirds on the fence about a winter return to SWFL

Reporter: Morgan Rynor Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: via CBS News.

In just days, travel restrictions expire for an area with a known affection for Southwest Florida, but there’s a divide at the border.

Many Canadians are split on whether to return to Southwest Florida for the winter.

Ruth Aspin and Jack Denneboom don’t know each other. Both of them live in Canada, and both of them come to Southwest Florida for the winter.

“We were going to South Florida for 15 years, and we moved to the middle of the state in Sebring,” Aspin said. “So it’s been 20 years.”

“We own a home in Naples,” Denneboom said.

In March, both went home early as COVID-19 started to spread.

“Our children … calling every day or texting us saying, ‘You need to get home; you need to get home,’” Aspin said. “We decided to head home.’”

“We were going to fly back, but we got a little nervous,” Denneboom said. “And so we just jumped in the car and raced back.”

Both said they hope to return to Southwest Florida again this winter.

Right now, only Aspin is definitely going to make the trip.

“Winter is coming,” Aspin said. “It’s going to be cold, and we’re not used to the winter anymore … We’ve sort of planned to stay in a bubble in our community and not go anywhere.”

As for Denneboom, he doesn’t trust how some Floridians deal with the virus.

“Extremely concerned about the seriousness with which the people in Florida take it,” Denneboom said. “People denying that this is an illness or a serious health issue. People take it lightly. They think it’s fake news.”

Denneboom is preparing for his first long winter in nine years.

“We’ve got our skis ready and our snowshoes ready,” Denneboom said.

Some companies still offer insurance to Canadians.

Aspin says Canadians have to shop around for the best insurance because some don’t offer COVID-19 coverage.

Air Canada has said it will offer coverage to anyone who buys a round-trip, international ticket.

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