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Canada land border open to vaccinated Americans: NPR

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Canada land border open to vaccinated Americans: NPR

Vehicles wait to enter Canada at the border crossing in Blaine, Washington, on Monday. Canada lifted the ban on Americans crossing the border to shop, vacation or visit, but the United States maintained similar restrictions.

Elaine Thompson / AP


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Elaine Thompson / AP

Vehicles wait to enter Canada at the border crossing in Blaine, Washington, on Monday. Canada lifted the ban on Americans crossing the border to shop, vacation or visit, but the United States maintained similar restrictions.

Elaine Thompson / AP

DERBY LINE, Vermont – Canada on Monday lifted the ban on Americans crossing the border to shop, vacation or visit, while the United States maintains similar restrictions for Canadians, part of a return to normalcy due to US travel bans. COVID-19.

US citizens and legal residents must be fully vaccinated and test negative for COVID-19 within three days to cross one of the longest and busiest land borders in the world, and Canadian officials warn they will not sacrifice security. for shorter border waits. Travelers must also complete a detailed application on the CAN arrival app before crossing.

The first morning American citizens were allowed to cross back into Canada, it was slow in the small border town of Derby Line, Vermont, where long stretches passed without a car heading into downtown Stanstead, Quebec.

In Buffalo, New York, Lisa and Jim Docherty were tested for COVID-19 at a pharmacy during their first visit to their Ridgeway, Ontario cabin since the summer of 2019. The couple from Hilton, South Carolina, originally from Buffalo has owned the cabin for over 40 years.

Lisa Doherty said she hoped to “just make sure mentally that everything is okay.”

“It’s been a part of my life because my grandmother had a cabin since she was 10 years old, so it’s kind of a feeling of getting back to normal,” she said.

The pharmacy clinic charged $ 140 for same-day tests and $ 125 for delivery of results in 24 to 48 hours.

“At this point, we will do whatever we need to do,” Lisa Docherty said before turning to a nasal swab.

A car heads to the US from Canada at the border crossing in Blaine, Washington, in June.

Elaine Thompson / AP


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Elaine Thompson / AP

A car heads to the US from Canada at the border crossing in Blaine, Washington, in June.

Elaine Thompson / AP

In the early afternoon, passenger cars waited over an hour at the Rainbow Bridge to enter Niagara Falls, Ontario, from Niagara Falls, New York.There were no delays at two other crossings west of New York. , the Peace Bridge in Buffalo and Lewiston-Queenston Bridge in Lewiston.

In Washington state, at the Peace Arch Border Crossing and Historic State Park, three lanes of vehicles with Washington state plates waited to cross the border Monday morning. Wait times were about 30 minutes at 11 a.m. M.

Wendy and Fred Chen, who live near the park, said they went to the border to see where the crossings were going. They said the friends crossed at 1 a.m. Monday and waited two hours and that border agents thoroughly checked everyone’s test results, vaccination cards and identification.

They used to go to Canada weekly before the pandemic to enjoy life in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, and take a break from the rural outskirts of Washington state.

“It was so easy before,” Wendy Chen said.

A car approaches one of the few open lanes at the Peace Arch border crossing into the United States in Blaine, Washington, in June.

Elaine Thompson / AP


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Elaine Thompson / AP

A car approaches one of the few open lanes at the Peace Arch border crossing into the United States in Blaine, Washington, in June.

Elaine Thompson / AP

The U.S.-Canada border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020 to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The United States has said it will extend its lockdown to all Canadians making non-essential travel until at least August 21, which also applies to the Mexican border. But the Biden administration is beginning to plan for a gradual reopening. The main requirement would be that almost all foreign visitors to the US would have to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

But Canadians are not waiting for reciprocal rules.

Garnet Health, an Essex, Vermont-based company that offers same-day COVID-19 testing, has tripled the number of tests it performs in recent weeks. The increase coincides with Canada’s decision last month to remove the two-week quarantine requirement for its citizens when they return home from the US.

“I imagine once the border opens, we will see a lot of people,” said Chelsea Sweeney, the company’s director of business development.

Joel Villanueva, owner of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock, British Columbia, about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) north of the US border, is more than ready for Americans to return.

“Let’s get this started,” he said. “Many of our clients are from the United States and we are literally minutes from across the border.”

Villanueva said he supports the people who come and who are fully vaccinated and does not believe there will be an avalanche of Americans initially.

Near the border in Washington state, Blaine Chamber of Commerce board member Carroll Solomon called the reopening a step in the right direction for businesses. But he also said it was somewhat concerning given an increase in COVID-19 cases across the country as the highly contagious delta variant spreads.

“For people who need to get there (to Canada) for family reasons, it’s wonderful,” said Solomon, who also volunteers at the Blaine Visitor Information Center.

Vehicles wait to enter Canada in Blaine, Washington, on Monday.

Elaine Thompson / AP


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toggle subtitle

Elaine Thompson / AP

Vehicles wait to enter Canada in Blaine, Washington, on Monday.

Elaine Thompson / AP

With all the hurdles people have to overcome, be fully vaccinated, get tested for COVID-19, and upload that information into an app, you don’t think people are going to Canada for many day trips.

Steve Blake, who lives in Stanstead, Quebec, just across the border from Derby Line, Vermont, hopes his siblings who live in the United States will be able to visit Canada soon so that he can hold a memorial service for their mother who died early. 2020. But given the requirements, you don’t know how quickly it will happen.

“I wish it were sooner rather than later,” he said.

Sue Crumley of Abbotsford, British Columbia, crossed the American side of the Arch of Peace to meet her family on Monday, including her 2-month-old grandson Silas, whom she had never met.

Canadians and Americans have been gathering in the park, located on the border of the United States and Canada, during the pandemic without much interference from border agents.

Crumley said he knew the border was being opened to Americans, but said he understood that his daughter and son-in-law would have to pay around $ 180 for the COVID-19 test and chose to meet in the park.

His 4-year-old granddaughter Sophia started running to Crumley as soon as she saw her grandmother.

“We do FaceTime for hours, but it’s not the same,” Crumley said. “I could not wait any longer”.

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