Point Roberts’ residents will not have be tested for COVID-19 prior to crossing the border.
Canada's new policy requiring proof of a recent negative COVID test for visitors who arrive by land took effect on Monday.
When it was initially announced a week earlier, Washington State governor Jay Inslee immediately reached out to the Canadian government to convey the concerns of Point Roberts’ residents.
The Consulate General of Canada informed Inslee of the exemption on Wednesday.
Land access to Point Roberts, located on the Tsawwassen Peninsula, is only possible via a 40-km trip into Canada to the Peace Arch crossing.
“Point Roberts’ residents have had very real concerns about transit ever since the pandemic struck, and this exemption will ease some of the burden,” Inslee said. “I want to thank the Canadian government for hearing our request, and to the state's congressional delegation, who continue working on border access issues for Point Roberts’ residents.”
Inslee added he has been working with the congressional delegation and Canadian officials to resolve the unique challenges facing Point Roberts’ residents as a result of the global pandemic.
The border has been closed to non-essential travel since last March, greatly impacting many Point Roberts’ businesses that rely on Canadian customers. Meanwhile, B.C. owners of vacation properties are also frustrated they haven’t been able to access their homes in nearly a year.
A Point Roberts COVID-19 vaccination clinic could commence as early as next week for residents 65 and over. The clinic was approved last week by the Washington State of Health and it will proceed once the vaccine shipment arrives.
The community had its first positive COVID-19 test last week since the start of the pandemic.