Canada-U.S. land border closure extended into June

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Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge

It may be some time, as yet, before residents can expect to be able to cross the border for any reason, much less shopping.  The Canada-U.S. land border is to remain closed until at least June 21.

Non-essential border crossings were initially shuttered in March of 2020 in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the first wave.  At this time, they have remained closed to crossing that is not considered “essential”.

“We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe from #COVID19,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair wrote on Twitter.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has indicated that 75 per cent of eligible Canadians will need to have received at least a first dose of the vaccine, and that cases need to be brought under control before “we get back to normal.”

To that end, Bloomberg has reported that preliminary talks within the federal government about reopening the land border had begun earlier this month.  While citing multiple sources, Bloomberg has indicated that one proposal being considered had to do with a “two-track system” being implemented that would allow for eased quarantine and testing protocols for travellers who have been vaccinated.

While many border communities are eager for the reopening, discussions as to how this can be done safely are ongoing.  To this end, Port Roberts, a U.S. enclave off the south-west point of B.C.’s Lower Mainland, has proposed its crossing to be a first port of entry for Canadians as part of a pilot project.

As with many such communities, Point Roberts relies heavily on cross-border travel, with the majority of its real estate owned by Canadians. The town is home to less than 1,000 residents,  80 per cent of whom are vaccinated.

-with files from 680 news

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