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Blaine sees drops in revenue as border remains closed

Last Updated Jul 2, 2020 at 4:14 pm PDT

The U.S. port of entry into Blaine, Wash., is seen at a very quiet Douglas-Peace Arch border crossing, amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus in Surrey, B.C., on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. The United States has agreed to Canada's request to extend the mutual ban on non-essential cross-border travel until June 21.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Border restrictions are not helping Blaine's bottom line

Blaine's city manager says it's impacted several businesses without Canadians crossing the border

Michael Jones says the city will have to take a hard look at next year's budget

BLAINE, WASHINGTON (NEWS 1130) — While Canadians still can’t visit Blaine to shop, do business or just enjoy the city, it has been taking a financial toll on the Washington community.

City Manager Michael Jones says no businesses have closed, but some have had to make other changes.

“What we definitely see is reduced hours and places like the mail shipping and package receiving facilities, some of those their business is down dramatically because they cater to Canadians coming and picking up packages.”

Jones says there have been major reductions in the city’s sales and gas tax revenue, suggesting as much as a 30 per cent drop for sales and as much as 50 per cent for gas.

“There are definitely fiscal impacts to the city that we’ll have to address in our budget.”

He says Blaine has a general fund budget of about $7.1 million (U.S.), with projections showing an $800,000 shortfall in revenue collection for this year because of the pandemic.

“Our projections were based on the border reopening in July. Each day that the border remains closed, our ‘best case’ gets less and less likely,” Jones adds.

Visiting also goes the other way, he says, with many people enjoying shopping, events and attractions in Canada.

But he says it isn’t all about money

“With the border closing, it’s almost like a chunk of our identity has been removed so we really look forward to the day that the U.S.-Canada border is fully open and porous again.”

The border remains closed to non-essential travel with some family reunification unil July 21.