David and Julie Kaplan with their children Estelle and Justin. (Special to The News)

David and Julie Kaplan with their children Estelle and Justin. (Special to The News)

COVID-19 border closure stops B.C. family’s cross-country move

Maple Ridge couple, two kids, turned away at New Brunswick border

Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 border closure has shut out a Maple Ridge family that was in the process of moving to their new home in the province.

David and Julie Kaplan were driving across the country, but were stopped at the New Brunswick border. That province informed them Nova Scotia’s border is closed, and turned them back.

The family of four is camping in Quebec, hoping to cut through pandemic-created red tape.

“They were exhausted, and to be turned away was very emotional,” said David’s sister Belinda Kaplan, who started appealing to the media for help from her home in Maple Ridge.

The Kaplans’ story has been in the television news in Atlantic Canada, and David said he is now cautiously hopeful that a resolution is in sight.

“But we’re still waiting, and haven’t heard anything,” he said on Tuesday morning. “And we have no guarantees.”

The family was looking for a fresh start in the Maritimes, where Julie’s family lives, and sold their home in Maple Ridge to buy a two-acre property in Windsor Forks, N.S., about 40 minutes from Halifax.

When they left their home on May 2, the public health orders stated they could still get into the province, based on the closing date of their property purchase.

“The day we left, Nova Scotia was going to let us in,” said David.

READ ALSO: Why Atlantic Canada excels at slowing the spread of COVID-19

However, as the pandemic took hold of the province, and case counts reached record highs, the border restrictions tightened. Nobody is allowed to enter the province until at least the end of the month, with few exceptions.

The border was closed at 8 a.m. Monday.

The Kaplans had been travelling at an admittedly leisurely pace, moving across the nation with Justin and Estelle, aged six and four, and the family dog.

“Moving, at the best of times, is quite stressful, much less moving across the country,” said David.

They have a cargo trailer full of their most valued possessions, and a travel trailer to sleep in. When they heard the new restrictions were coming, they got their caravan moving, putting in some long days of travelling over 1,000 km each, but still just missed the open border. At the New Brunswick border, officials were inflexible.

“They wouldn’t even look at my documentation,” said David.

READ ALSO: All of B.C. will eventually ease out of COVID-19 restrictions at same time: Henry

But he sent an email asking the Nova Scotia government for a compassionate exemption. They called their realtor, their new MLA and a variety of other potential advocates, and it seems they may get passage. Their appeal has been given unofficial approval.

He is keeping the family comfortable in a campground near the New Brunswick border, and expecting some digital permit documents that will get them both through New Brunswick and into their new home province.

“We’re very hopeful. I think things will be resolved. It’s just a matter of time,” he said. “We need to be able to get home.”


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