Businesses in U.S. border communities nervously await easing of travel restrictions

U.S. businesses are waiting nervously for an expected announcement on when the American border will reopen to Canadian tourists.

Canada announced Monday that as of Aug. 9, U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to enter the country, with the rest of the world to follow Sept. 7.

However, Canadians are still not allowed to enter the U.S. by land, though they can currently fly.

The Canadian American Business Council has been lobbying for a reciprocal deal that would see the U.S. open its land border simultaneously with Canada.

Border closed to non-essential travel since March 2020

Chief executive Scotty Greenwood says the U.S. is expected to announce its decision Wednesday, when the existing cross-border ban on non-essential travel will expire if it is not renewed.

The land border between Canada and the U.S. has been closed to non-essential travel since March 21, 2020. The closure order has been extended every 30 days since then.

Small businesses in U.S. border communities say they have been devastated by the collapse in Canadian tourism.

Nick Kiniski, who owns Kiniski’s Reef restaurant and bar in Point Roberts, Washington, says his business is down 80 per cent because of the border closure.

Point Roberts is located just south of Vancouver, B.C. and can only be accessed by crossing by vehicle through Canada, or by plane or private boat. It is not physically connected to the continental United States.

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