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B.C. businesses want the U.S.-Canada border to reopen

In this photo taken Sunday, May 17, 2020, U.S. and Canadian flags fly atop the Peace Arch at Peace Arch Historical State Park on the border with Canada, where people can walk freely between the two countries at an otherwise closed border, in Blaine, Wash. Canada and the U.S. have agreed to extend their agreement to keep the border closed to non-essential travel to June 21 during the coronavirus pandemic. The restrictions were announced on March 18, were extended in April and now extended by another 30 days. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

U.S.-Canada border will be closed until at least June 21, after being closed in March 2020

Tsawwassen Springs GM says the border closure hasn't just financially impacted them

Point Roberts residents haven't had access to dentists or doctors since the closure, chamber of commerce president says

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There are rumours the U.S. could partially reopen their northern border next month, and it’s not just those in Washington State who are hoping for it.

Tsawwassen Springs General Manager Sue Carlile says prior to the closure, people from Point Roberts, Wash., would come and visit often.

“[We had] a lot of golfers that came on a very regular basis and participated in some club play,” she says.

The international border has been closed to all non-essential travel since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Developing connections with a lot of their customers, Carlile says the closure hasn’t just impacted them financially.

“It’s more of an emotional impact — we miss these people and we know them. We’ve developed relationships with them and we’re not able to see them now,” she says.

Darren Gates, owner of Mario’s Kitchen in Tsawwassen, is hopeful the border reopens soon, as the closure has been hard on his business without international traffic.

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“We’re right on the strip on the way to Point Roberts and the border crossing, so that was just gone,” he says.

Seeing the difference in traffic especially in the summer, Gates says, “The population would go up fivefold usually, is what we’re told, and we would see it right away. Whether it was vacationing Canadians going down there to their summer homes or American Point Roberts residents.”

Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce President Brian Calder is also in favour of the border quickly re-opening. Without specialty stores in the enclave, such as optical stores and drug stores, Calder says residents should be allowed to cross.

“85 per cent [of our population] are vaccinated here, so we’re not a threat to anybody,” he says.

Calder also says Point Roberts residents haven’t had access to dentists or doctors since the closure, as the closest providers are located over the border in Ladner, Tsawwassen or Surrey.

The U.S.-Canada border is set to be closed until at least June 22.