VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – With news Canada aims to ease COVID-19 travel restrictions as early as mid-August for fully-vaccinated Americans, the tourism sector in Seattle is looking forward to the border eventually opening to non-essential travel in both directions.
“We miss Canadian visitors at our venues, restaurants, and hotels as much as they miss us. Travel and tourism is a cornerstone of Seattle’s economy, and we need the return of foot traffic — checking out the Pike Place Market, walking the waterfront, and even to and from a rival Mariners and Blue Jays baseball game — for our region to recover from the pandemic in a vibrant and inclusive way,” said Rachel Smith, president and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
The Emerald City’s other professional sports teams — the NFL’s Seahawks and MLS’ Sounders — are also eager to welcome back Canadian crowds.
“We enjoy a lot of the Canadians that come down to attend games, they are dearly missed,” said Beth Knox, president of the Seattle Sports Commission.
“We share such a great relationship with our Canadian friends who come to Seattle and the region. It’s a special relationship we have here in the Pacific Northwest. They not only come to our games and cheer on their teams but, of course, they are spending time in our hotels and restaurants, and really just contribute to the quality of life here. We are eager to have them return to visiting us.”
The U.S. land border is still restricted to essential travel only until at least July 21, though air travel into the country is allowed for Canadians.
Related video: Canada aiming to allow vaccinated Americans into country by mid-August: PM
On July 5, Canada eased restrictions for returning citizens, landed immigrants, and other authorized international travellers who are fully vaccinated, no longer requiring a two-week quarantine.
While on a call with the country’s premiers Thursday night, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed plans to allow fully vaccinated Americans into Canada again by as early as the middle of next month.
He also told them if the current vaccination rate keeps heading higher, fully vaccinated travellers from around the world could begin arriving by early September.
-With files from Lasia Kretzel and The Canadian Press