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ArriveCan app is “strangling” Point Roberts’ economy

Isolated border community saw 54 percent fewer visitors in March compared to the same month pre-pandemic in 2019
Boundary Bay crossing
Boundary Bay border crossing to return to Delta B.C. from Point Roberts.

The Canadian border needs to return to its pre-pandemic screening process specifically for travellers to an isolated U.S. community.

That’s what Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce president Brian Calder is pleading for as the local economy hasn’t come close to rebounding to its pre-COVID level while some services and trades remain reluctant to travel to the community.

Calder says the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) should drop the ArriveCan app entry requirement and the random testing too when it comes to returning from short trips to Point Roberts.

Backing his claim are the latest border traffic numbers into Point Roberts released by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

With looser border restrictions and rising Canadian gas prices, March saw 51,230 travelers come through the Point Roberts crossing which is a significant increase from January (22,570) and February (29,563) of this year. Yet, it's nowhere near the pre-pandemic numbers of March 2018 (132,901) and March 2019 (109,214).

“The ArriveCAN is strangling what little life is left of our economy. It has devastated our tourism – the lifeline of Point Roberts,” said Calder. “It is also the main deterrent for both US and Canadian services and trades coming to Point Roberts to perform essential work.”

Calder has again turned to U.S. politicians for help by putting pressure on the Canadian government. It was last summer when Governor Jay Inslee made a special visit to Point Roberts, while Sen. Patty Murray recognized the dire situation on the U.S. senate floor. It eventually led to the Canada’s Order of Council making a special exemption for travel to Point Roberts.

“Where are our politicians? Who is fighting to save our community? Our politicians need to step up and pursue an ArriveCAN exemption on our behalf if Point Roberts is to survive,” he continued. “Now that the pandemic is not as serious, we have been forgotten and the future of Point Roberts – one of the most beautiful communities in the Pacific Northwest – hangs by a thread.

“ArriveCAN does not make sense for Point Roberts. It would be similar to B.C. residents having to complete the ArriveCAN app to travel from Vancouver to Burnaby. Point Roberts shares its only land border with Canada – not the U.S.”