GRAND FORKS — The long-sought ending for land border restrictions between the United States and Canada now has a date, and it’s right around the corner.
The Canadian government announced fully vaccinated American travelers and permanent residents will be able to cross the border beginning on Aug. 9, according to a report in the Washington Post, on Monday, July 19. The decision will mark the end of 16 months of border restrictions, which only allowed people deemed essential workers to cross. During that time, communities on both sides of the border struggled financially.
Federal lawmakers from the region were unanimous in their support for reopening the borders, and reigniting trade necessary for the survival of border towns.
“The light at the end of the tunnel appears to be closer, and after more than 16 long, arduous months, it is long past the time for these punitive restrictions to meet their end,” said Rep. Michelle Fischbach, R-Minn. “Not only has the prolonged border closure affected the ability of Americans to travel, they have also impeded the ability of Americans to earn a living. The closure of the northern border has been particularly devastating for Minnesotans living in the Northwest Angle, and I am committed to doing all that I can to help their recovery.”
The Angle is bordered on three sides by Canada, and is accessible either by boat on the U.S. side, or by driving through a portion of Manitoba. People who live in the Angle have been able to access their properties, though restrictions such as presenting proof of a negative COVID-19 test were required. The lack of tourists and visitors however, wreaked financial havoc on businesses there.
Both Fischbach and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., have been vocal supporters of easing restrictions.
“This is great news and will help connect loved ones and alleviate the burden on so many businesses on our border that have been suffering,” said Klobuchar. “I have long worked with both Canadian and U.S. officials to make this happen, and it will now be easier to see family and friends, and allow businesses to get goods to market.”
Some restrictions will still be in place on Aug. 9. Fully vaccinated Americans will need to provide a negative molecular test for COVID-19, within 72 hours of arriving at a land crossing, or a flight departure. Travelers will also need to upload proof of vaccination through ArriveCAN, a Canadian government smartphone application.
According to a Monday report on CTV News, unvaccinated children under the age of 12 will be allowed to accompany vaccinated parents or guardians, without having to quarantine for 14 days. People must follow Canadian public health policies from the areas they visit.
There has been nor word yet on when Canadian visitors will be allowed to enter the U.S. at land crossings.