We expect to see something Monday that we haven’t witnessed around these parts in more than 19 months — steady traffic at the border.
The return of our friends to the north has been a long time coming. While it took two months longer to open the border, it’s worth the wait for Canadians and puts a giant spotlight on the glaring issue that keeps so many Americans from crossing into the Great White North despite the border opening on Aug. 9.
Canadians won’t be required to get a COVID-19 test prior to entering the U.S. Visitors crossing for non-essential purposes will only be required to be vaccinated and prepared to verbally attest to and/or provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination status as outlined on the Centers for Disease Control website.
And that’s exactly the way it should be.
As it stands now, U.S. citizens and legal residents must be both fully vaccinated and test negative for COVID-19 within three days of entry. As we’ve all learned these past two months, rapid Covid tests ain’t cheap and can range from $140 to $300 per person. The requirement has for all intents and purposes closed the border to many in the U.S.
But with the return of Canadians is a renewed call to stick to one set of rules at the border. On Monday, as many from Ontario make their way back across the border — where they will be most welcomed by local businesses, several U.S. and Canadian officials will make their case to have the Covid testing requirement rescinded by the Canadian government.
Congressman Brian Higgins will be joined by Niagara Falls, Ont., Mayor Jim Diodati, Mayor Robert Restaino, Sarnia, Ont., Mayor Michael Bradley and Windsor, Ont., Mayor Drew Dilkens. The event is being moderated by Barbara Barrett, executive director of the Frontier Duty Free Association.
They’re not alone. In Canada, Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, joined members of the travel and tourism industry at a press conference Thursday to call on the federal government to remove “unnecessary and non-science-based” obstacles to international travel for families.
We join them in their fight.
Getting to the point where traffic is flowing on both sides of the border has been a long and difficult journey for many, particularly those with family in the U.S. and Canada as well as the business that rely on visitors from both sides. The two governments haven’t been on the same page since the decision was made to close the borders to non-essential traffic on March 20, 2020. But here we are, Nov. 8, 2021, when visitors from both sides can eagerly make their way across local bridges.
It’s time to make the rules the same for everyone.