Border reopening offers no magic pill for border towns
Last updated 10/22/2021 at 10:49am
News that the U.S. would open its land borders to vaccinated travelers on November 8 was met with relief by border towns along the northern border and recognition that much more needs to be done before the local economy can begin to be restored. Canada's insistence that citizens and visitors entering the country must be fully vaccinated as well as having a negative Covid-19 PCR result taken within 72 hours will mean these communities will not see day trippers anytime soon.
In a letter to Governor Jay Inslee's assistant Joe Timmons, Point Roberts fire chief Christopher Carleton explained why the reopening would not benefit the community.
"The difficulty remains for my community of Point Roberts. It may provide access to a few international travelers into Point Roberts but not the day-to-day necessary for economic recovery. This is due to (if it maintains) Canada's requirement of a negative COVID test to return to Canada regardless of time spent in the US. Our grocery store, parcel locations, gas stations and other businesses need the day-to-day again. It is a welcomed start though for US resort areas and vacation destinations, just not border towns needing day-to-day economic influx as before the pandemic," he wrote.
Carleton pointed out that Point Roberts "provides a highly vaccinated, safe US community" and suggested a possible solution would be for Canada to adopt a "reciprocal approach as we currently have that allows permanent residents of Point Roberts to travel into the Delta/Lower Mainland area without a negative COVID test made available to international travelers who live in the same area to enjoy Point Roberts again without having to provide negative COVID tests returning to Canada."
"Habitual residents" of Point Roberts were recently allowed by a change to the Canadian Order in Council authorizing quarantine measures to access neighboring communities for nonessential purposes without needing a Covid-19 test or show proof of vaccination.
The requirement for Covid-19 testing of travelers is gaining opposition in high places.
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