The US-Canada border closure caused by COVID is set to expire this week, but all signs indicate that the ban on non-essential travel between the two countries will be extended by another month.
In fact, as the total number of COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths is increasing north of the border, the question is not whether to meet a friend in British Columbia immediately, but a Canadian neighbor in Alberta. Whether you are allowed to travel for. , Northwest Territories or Yukon Territories.
British Columbia Prime Minister John Horgan is considering limiting round-trip travel to the state to stop the third wave of illness in the country. According to CBC..
“We haven’t removed anything from the table, but practicality is first and foremost in our minds,” Hogan said by CBC. “If you’re confident that it will work, use the tools available, but deploying those tools is a challenge. Frankly, we haven’t completely removed travel restrictions.”
Many experts are calling on government leaders to take action to curb the spread of COVID variants. According to CBCIn particular, P.1 (Brazilian subspecies) detected in 555 cases in the state in the past week.
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would support restricting travel between states and territories in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
“At every stage of the road, I’ve helped the Prime Minister and territorial leaders do what they need to do to keep people safe,” Trudeau told the CBC. “As we saw in the Atlantic bubble, as we saw in the Arctic, they make the decision to close the region. That’s what we’re helping.”
Ontario announced on Friday that it would close its borders to non-essential travel. According to Ottawa Citizen..
This is because the 7-day average of new cases per million Canadians (average 207.27) exceeded the US ratio last weekend (average 206.66). According to WebMD..
Disease Control and Prevention Center Warned U.S. travelers to avoid Canada For now, even if you are completely vaccinated.
USA and Canada First agreed to close the border To delay the spread of COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic in mid-March 2020. The closure, which began on March 21, has been extended 12 times a month.
it was The final extension is March 18th It is currently due to expire on Wednesday, April 21st, but it seems very unlikely that the closure will not be extended again.
Earlier this month, Canada’s intergovernmental minister, Dominic LeBlanc, said it was too early for the Canadian federal government to discuss the reopening of the border with the United States.
“This doesn’t feel like the right moment to have those conversations.” Le Blanc told CBC..
“We are aware that vaccination rates are rising and hopefully the current public health measures are reducing these cases, so we can talk to both the U.S. government and the state. . Territory about what is the right attitude at the border.
“But so far, there is no lively discussion. [about] Adjust those measures. “
Legislators demand a gradual resumption
Despite the increase in Canada, New York State Legislature Brian Higgins is calling for a gradual resumption starting next month. According to Spectrum News..
“President Biden said he should return to normal by July 4. We need a plan to give people fun in connection with the opening of the US-Canada border,” Higgins said. , According to Spectrum News.
Higgins is calling on the Department of Homeland Security to expand the definition of important travelers allowed to cross the border to include people with property, business interests, or families on the other side of the border. .. It was successful. “
Higgins also said he was pushing for a full resumption by July, but he believes that safe social distance, masks and vaccinations are needed.
“I think it’s fair to require people who want to move between the United States and Canada to have a vaccine during a public health crisis,” he said. “It’s aimed at keeping them safe, but so are their families and our Canadian neighbors.”
On Monday, April 12, protesters in Buffalo, New York went to Pat Sole Park near Peace Bridge and called on government leaders to find a solution that would allow bordered families to reunite. It’s not just Higgins. According to the local TV station WIVB..
Update COVID number
As of Friday afternoon, the United States continues to have the highest number of COVID cases in the world, with over 31.5 million confirmed cases and 566,000 associated deaths. According to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard.. Canada, on the other hand, ranked 22nd overall, with more than 1.1 million cases and 23,000 associated deaths.
The United States is the third most populous country in the world, with more than 331 million inhabitants. According to worlometers.infoCanada ranks 39th with more than 37 million residents.
by British Columbia COVID-19 Dashboard As of Thursday, April 16, the state confirmed a total of 116,075 cases and 1,524 deaths during the pandemic. 26,648 cases and 113 deaths have increased since the last border extension was announced on March 18. With a population of approximately 5.1 million, British Columbia has seen an infection rate of 522.5 cases and 2.2 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants since March 18.
The· Washington State Health DepartmentMeanwhile, 355,387 confirmed cases and 5,362 related deaths were reported on Thursday. Since March 18, there have been an increase of 24,278 cases and 206 deaths.
Washington reports 4,299,351 vaccinations, or about 0.57 per resident, while British Columbia reports 1,235,863, or about 0.24 per resident. I am.
Economic impact of closure
Whatcom County is certainly feeling the economic impact of border closure. Border closures now take less than a week to reach a year.
The· Western Washington University Institute for Border Policy According to information previously emailed to Bellingham Herald by Director Laurie Troutman, Canadians account for about 75% of cross-border travelers to and from Whatcom County before the pandemic. understood.
In 2018, Canada will have approximately 10.5 million southbound travelers passing through the entry points of Brain, Linden, Sumas and Point Roberts.
These Canadians make up the majority of consumers in Whatcom County. Somewhere between 2% and 46% of the weekend customer base seen by Whatcom County retailers, Troutman added that the average is around 17%.
However, basic travel between the two countries is still permitted, including freight transportation.
Transport Bureau Statistics Cross-border freight traffic declined in January after some recovery in late 2020.
Statistics show that cross-border cargo across the US-Canada border in January fell 3.7% from December, down 4.5% from January 2020.
However, cross-border freight by truck between the two countries increased slightly (0.1%) from December and 1.9% from January 2020, as $ 26.6 billion worth of freight was shipped.
The loophole is rewarded
Despite the closure of the border, Canadian tourists are stimulating the economy of border communities, including Whatcom County.
However, returning Canada Snowbird has circumvented these restrictions by arriving at a US airport near the border and comfortably taking the last part of the trip by land by limousine or taxi. According to CBC..
“When Canada imposed the hotel [quarantine], Then it just seemed like our phone was exploding, “Buffalo limousine owner Carla Boccio told CBC. “What I’ve heard from the majority of these people is that it’s not that expensive, it’s like you’re in jail … in the quarantine of this hotel.”
Boccio estimates that the company here transports an average of 50 customers per day across national borders.
Evergreen Town Car Bellingham’s website and Facebook page advertise vehicles across borders to Canada’s final destination, not only from Bellingham International Airport, but also from Seatuck and Everett’s Paine Field.
“Yes, we’ve seen quite a few — more than we can handle,” an evergreen representative told Bellingham Herald.
The representative said the customer was very pleased with the service the company provided and welcomed customers from various airports in the region.