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Thorold couple trying to make it to U.S/Canadian border amidst pandemic

Were hiking in rural Florida when news of outbreak caused chaos

As local residents are hunkering down at home, a Thorold couple are pushing long hours on the U.S highways to reach the Canadian border before the pandemic escalates even more.

Thorold News health columnist Cheryl Gordon and her partner Richard Pinter had been spending several weeks hiking around 'like hippies' in rural Florida, enjoying a camping trip in Ocala National Forest.

But now, the annual pause from hectic modern life and technology has came to an abrupt end as government officials urge Canadians abroad to return home.

For Cheryl and Richard, the situation started becoming real just before the weekend.

"We got up in the morning, and it did not seem like much was going on. There was even toilet paper on the shelves."

What they did not know was that a mass buying frenzy had broken out in large parts of the world as the COVID-19 pandemic started spreading.

Like many others, the couple first considered riding it out - but as the messages from the government became more and more urgent, they realized their camping adventure was rapidly coming to an end.

"Reality started," Cheryl says.

As of Wednesday, Florida reported more than 300 cases.

Fellow snowbirds started heading up north, prompting Cheryl and Richard to do the same.

When Thorold News reached the couple on Wednesday morning, they were driving through Georgia and were looking at around 19 hours on the road before reaching the Buffalo border.

"Thankfully we are self contained in our big trailer. You see rest stops along the way totally empty. That never happens, but we won't stop to shop or camp. We're motoring." said Cheryl.

On a press conference on Wednesday, officials said Canadians returing home will be screened at the border and then asked to self isolate for 14 days, regardless of symptoms.

In the case someone appears at the border bearing symptoms, reporters were told those people would be quarantined in Canada.

Cheryl and Frank are leaving with mixed feelings.

"We are reluctant to leave the beautiful weather but we are anxious to come home. I know i can't see my family right away but at least everyone is safe."