(Burlington) On the U.S. side of the border, traders are anxiously awaiting the return of Canadian tourists.
“We look forward to welcoming our visitors from Canada so that they can truly adapt to our new location in Burlington, because I know they like us,” said Elizabeth White, Director of Boat Rental Dream Yacht Charter. Business.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were dozens of pleasure boats on Lake Champlain, far from Burlington, most of them from Quebec. This year, the anchorage is almost empty due to the closure of the border between the United States and Canada.
Those who rely directly and indirectly on these boaters hope the Canadians will return soon to avoid losing a second summer to the epidemic.
It is not yet clear when the border will be fully opened. The U.S. and Canadian governments do not plan to make the announcement one way or another until July 21.
The extension of this measure was condemned by many due to the increase in vaccine rates and the decline in infection rates.
According to an American Tourism Association, the closure will cost $ 1.5 billion each month. On the Canadian side, it welcomed approximately 22 million foreign visitors in 2019, including 15 million from the United States.
Beyond these numbers, there is a human perspective.
For example, the Derby Line in Vermont and the neighboring villages of Stansted in Quebec. Since the outbreak, people from both countries have been traveling there to organize family reunions on the spot. As the border passes in the middle of a residential street, everyone is talking to each other without crossing lines and touching each other. Back and forth movements are not allowed.
At the Washington state border, there is a risk that Point Roberts grocery store will close until the state grants 100 100,000 subsidy, pending the return of Canadian customers. The trade is located at the tip of a peninsula south of Vancouver, a small area of eight square kilometers, with no direct connection to the United States, except by sea.
In northern Michigan, a bridge connects the two towns of Salt-Saint-Mary. Denise Boston Talentino, a dual citizen, has lived in the United States for 26 years. An addiction counselor, she was able to go to work in Canada until she retired in November, but she was unable to visit her family there.
“The United States and Canada have always been a world to me. I never thought it would last so long,” she said of her travel restrictions.
Canadian authorities are demanding that 75% of the eligible population be fully vaccinated before easing sanctions at the border. They expect 80% of eligible Canadians to receive a fully immunized dose by the end of July.
At 1Is July, this rate is 35%.
“We are optimistic. Madeleine Gomery, a spokeswoman for Canadian Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair, explained that the reduction in cases and the increase in vaccine coverage would allow border measures to be gradually relaxed. In the meantime, we are moving forward with appropriate precautions on both sides of the border, encouraging Canadians to continue vaccinating, following the advice of public health experts. ”
Liberal MP from the Toronto area Nathaniel Erskine-Smith said he was trying to reopen the border safely. He said easing the entry requirements for Canadian citizens from him was an important step in building confidence in the journey.
“I still think we should go even faster,” he said.
Mr Erskine-Smith laments that US and Canadian authorities did not initiate the process several months ago, including stating that they are acceptable evidence for vaccines.
On the US side, politicians are pushing the Biden administration to move forward with a plan to reopen the border.
“We are committed to restoring border ties in Vermont as soon as possible,” said Patrick Leahy, a Democratic senator from Vermont. These decisions should be based on solid scientific evidence rather than politics. ”
At this point, we miss the Quebec tourists at Old Orchard Beach in Maine. Allout Beach Resort welcomes only one Canadian guest on Quebec National Day Long weekend.
Its visitor, Fred Kennedy, mitigated some of the losses due to the attendance of American visitors. And already, Canadians are lamenting the hope that summer may come later.
“We’re still losing Canadians,” he said. They give the Old Orchard flavor. ”
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Bernard Drainville, New Education commentator