While the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) is allowing British Columbians to make day trips to Washington State for essential shopping without requiring a pre-entry PCR test to return to Canada, there is no time limit on visits to Point Roberts.
Currently, fully-vaccinated B.C. residents can travel to the U.S. by land to access or purchase goods or services such as groceries, fuel, and medications and who are absent from Canada for no more than 24 hours, will not have to take a COVID-19 molecular test before coming back to Canada. The decision was based on the continuing supply issues in B.C. caused by last month’s Atmospheric River flooding that led to significant damage to the province’s highway infrastructure.
“The Government of Canada understands the significant damage and upheaval that has been caused by the flooding situation in B.C. Should a border services officer determine that the traveller entered the U.S. and does not meet the exemption requirements upon their return to Canada, travellers will be referred to Public Health Agency of Canada officials who will assess next steps and determine the appropriate public health measures the traveller must follow,” a press release stated.
Before the Dec. 22 CBSA announcement was even made, Canadians visiting Point Roberts already had no need to worry about the expensive PCR test to return home thanks to an exemption granted by Canada’s Order in Council.
It was back on Nov. 21 when the Order in Council included Point Roberts with two other integrated trans-border communities (Hyder, Alaska and Northwest Angle, Minnesota) as exemptions from pre-entry testing for fully-vaccinated persons arriving by land. It was then extended again on Dec. 20.
Whether it’s a 20-minute trip for gas and groceries or a week-long stay at a vacation home, Canadians must use the ArriveCan app to enter their citizenship and vaccine documents, along with their trip details, before arriving at the Boundary Bay land crossing. They also might be selected for a random COVID-19 test to be done at home.
According to CBSA spokesperson Sandra Boudreau the details of the pre-entry test exemptions can be found on Canada’s COVID-19 Travel Checklist for requirements and exemptions website under the heading “Cross-border workers and Trans-border communities.”