WASHINGTON — Business groups and border communities that depend on traffic across the Canada-U.S. border are growing impatient with travel restrictions that appear poised to stretch into a fourth straight month.
The mutual ban on non-essential travel between the two countries, which went into effect in March, is set to expire June 21 — but Canadian officials say they anticipate another 30-day extension.
That’s bad news for businesses and towns that depend on the free flow of people over the border, and they say it’s time the two governments started speaking publicly about not just when, but how they plan to open it back up.
Garry Douglas, CEO of the North Country Chamber of Commerce in Plattsburgh, N.Y., said the economic relationship between Canada and the U.S. is too complex to be sustained solely by allowing trade shipments to continue.
Douglas says personal meetings, sales calls, site visits and networking opportunities have been impossible for months, and the restrictions are exacting an economic toll that has so far gone undocumented.
He says he wants to hear more about how the two countries plan to ease some of that pressure before they announce another extension of the travel ban