Saturday, March 25, 2023

Fully vaccinated Canadians jammed the land border as the US finally eased travel restrictions. Nation World News

Fully vaccinated Canadians visited loved ones, holiday properties and popular American shopping haunts on Monday after the United States eased southbound travel restrictions on the world’s longest demilitarized land border.

Shortly after midnight on Sunday, Customs and Border Protection agents began letting fully vaccinated tourists, visitors and day-trippers drive into the US for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

“I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m nervous. It’s everything. Anxiety is everything,” said Patricia Fountain, a resident of Niagara Falls, Ont. Haven’t seen my boyfriend living in America. Personally since May last year.

Fountain, who entered the US on Monday via the Rainbow Bridge, said the pair plan to spend some quality time “sitting and hugging and watching movies” after 17 months of phone calls and video chats.

“I hope everyone recovers from this and we get back to normal,” she said. “I want to bring back some normalcy in my life.”

That’s exactly what Snowbird Don Livingstone had in mind when he walked across the bridge on Monday to catch a flight to Punta Gorda, Fla., where he was waiting a tee time.

“I’m looking forward to a great winter. We’re going golfing every day,” said Livingstone, 80, of Burlington, Ont.

“As long as you have your health and you can afford it, why not?”

Wait times to enter the US ran the gamut in the early hours of Monday morning, with some people clearing backlogs at traditionally busy crossings such as the Peace Bridge in Buffalo or Saint-Bernard-de-Lacole in Quebec. Waited two or three hours before. Afternoon.

The town of Coutts, Alta., however, waited four hours just before noon local time, closing in just three hours by mid-afternoon.

Mayor Jim Willett said vehicles and RVs started showing up as early as Friday, which triples the population of a city that typically has fewer than 300 people.

“Talking to people who’ve lived here all their lives, they’ve never seen a lineup like this before,” Willett said.

In Plattsburgh, NY, an hour’s drive south of Montreal, Quebec license plates were spotted in the parking lot of the Champlain Center mall—a destination so dependent on cross-border traffic that it bears its name on all of its marketing materials. Uses Canadian spelling. and signs.

The mall’s website also includes a special section for its overseas customers, filled with maple leaf flags and boasting new retail stores that have opened during the pandemic and for anyone showing proof of Canadian residency. Special savings.

“A great deal of the Plattsburgh economy is supported by visitors from Canada,” said Bukberg Books manager Charles Loscalzo. He estimated that nearly half of his customers in previous years were from north of the border.

Loscalzo called the latest travel developments a “positive step”, but acknowledged he is intimidated by Canada’s requirement that anyone entering or re-entering the country must have proof of a negative PCR test with their vaccination card. Will have to show

The test, also known as a molecular test, can cost anywhere from C$150 to $300 and must be taken within 72 hours of crossing the border to the north. The US has a similar need for air travelers, but allows them to submit cheaper, faster tests widely available at drugstores. It waived the rule for people crossing by land.

America has now lifted travel restrictions from many countries

Canada’s need is now in the sight of business leaders, activists and US lawmakers, who have been calling for the borders to be reopened for months. A family of four needs to pay an additional $1,000 for “unnecessary” testing, he says.

Brian Higgins, a New York congressman and one of the most outspoken critics of the sanctions, said, “People don’t want to be constrained anymore.”

“Remove the unnecessary testing. And let’s really celebrate this inauguration, so that we can realize the full potential of the United States and Canada to return to friendship, to our bilateral relationship financially, but to life.” Way in quality too.”

Drew Dilkens, Mayor of the border city of Windsor, Ont., said Canada allows visitors who plan to return from the US within 72 hours to undergo a re-entry test before they leave.

It will include “thousands” of Canadian football fans who regularly travel to Detroit, Buffalo and other NFL cities to see a game in person before heading home at the end of the night.

“The current system would allow anyone in Canada to do a PCR test, cross into Detroit to cheer the Lions with another 65,000 fans at the stadium, and then return to Canada using the test,” Dilkens said.

“How is this test of any use for anyone considering the nature of one’s activities and the risks they face? I think we can all agree it’s not.”

Floyd Jorgensen of Mervyn, Sask., said he accompanied his parents on a flight to Phoenix to settle at their Arizona vacation property, but is now wondering if he will be allowed back in Canada when he returns home on Friday. will be given.

He said that the clinic where he inquired about getting the PCR test done, he said that it would take seven to 10 days for the results to come.

“They said, ‘Well, we’re very supportive, you’re going to be delayed a week, a week and a half before you get results,'” Jorgensen said. “And I go, ‘Well, that really doesn’t work out very well for me.

He said he would keep trying, but he might eventually have to present his side to customs officials: “I won’t even have my results, so I’m not sure – but I know I have the ticket, so I’m getting on the plane.”

The new rules went into effect on the same day that the US began requiring foreign nationals arriving by air to be fully vaccinated and tested before boarding their flights. Unaffiliated Americans are allowed to fly, but must be tested within 24 hours of departure.

The US has lifted travel restrictions on several countries, including China, India, Ireland, Iran, South Africa, Brazil and 26 European countries without border controls known as the Schengen Group.

The US Travel Association estimates that inbound international travel generated $239 billion in export earnings in 2019 and directly supported 1.2 million US jobs. The association estimates that the pandemic has cost the US nearly $300 billion in export earnings and more than a million jobs, with travel levels not expected to return to 2019 levels until 2024 at the earliest.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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