POINT ROBERTS (NEWS 1130) — Canada could soon be opening up its border to vaccinated Americans, but the people of Point Roberts are wondering whether the same courtesy will be extended to Canadians heading south.
For the past year, the chair of the Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce, Brian Calder, has been highlighting the impact the border closure has had on his tiny American community.
He says the news that Americans will soon be able to cross the line is good news, especially when many in Point Roberts access health and dental care in Canada.
“That’s going to open Point Roberts up a bit — but this is just a bit,” he says, adding, “It’s welcome news — don’t get me wrong — however, our issue is getting Canadians back into Point Roberts, and the border still locked down.”
Calder says he’s waiting for the U.S. government to reciprocate the announcement made by the Canadian government.
“We need Joe Biden, President of the United States, to say, ‘Yes, we’ll allow Canadians into Point Roberts’ because they’re [Canadians are] 90 per cent of our economic activity. They own 75 per cent of our real property here. They supply our water and power. They are the most important thing to the survival of Point Roberts, which economically is very threatened.”
This week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government is aiming to allow fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents into Canada by mid-August.
But, Calder says even if the border were to fully re-open in mid-August, another summer of economic activity would have been lost – and he predicts it will take ten years to recover.
“We lost our summer. There are no reservations. There would be normally several 100 reservations to the campgrounds, for the trailers and tents and so forth,” he says.
“People have made their holiday plans by now. And so opening it on August marginal influence, but a welcome one, and make it sooner than later.”
Trudeau also says he told the premiers by phone that if the current vaccination rate remains on its current trajectory, fully vaccinated travellers from around the world could be arriving by early September.
The restrictions at the Canada-U.S. border, imposed by mutual agreement in March of last year, have been renewed every month ever since. They are next set to expire on Wednesday, July 21.