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Editorial: Border exceptions?

It should be good news to border communities like Point Roberts, but sadly, that is not the case
Point Roberts border

After 19 months, on Nov. 8, the land borders between Canada and the U.S. will finally be re-opened to fully vaccinated travellers.

It should be good news to border communities like Point Roberts, but sadly, that is not the case.

Since the Boundary Bay crossing closure, Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce president

Brian Calder has been lobbying to get the border open.

In a story we are running this week, Calder told the Optimist of the roughly 1.5 million pre-pandemic visits in 2018 and 2019, 50 per cent of them were for an hour or less.

As it stands now, travellers still have to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of re-entering Canada. So that means day-trippers, who want to hop down to Point Roberts for cheaper gas, pick up a few groceries and or check in on their vacation properties, will likely not make that trip because of the added costs of a COVID test.

Who is going to go down to Point Roberts to support the businesses when they need to produce a negative test to go back when it’s likely the cost of the test will be more than you will spend on your shopping trip? It’s just not practical.

According to Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, there is no plan anytime soon to drop the required mandatory negative test.

There are exceptions to every rule, and in this case there definitely should be.

I get the need for safety. I get the need to be cautious, but if you are double vaccinated and have to show your vaccine passport to get into restaurants, theatres and sporting events here in B.C., and you don’t need a negative test to get into those establishments, shouldn’t those same rules apply when crossing the land border for day trips?

Canadian government officials need to change this policy and change it quickly. Point Roberts and other border communities are hanging on by a thread.

The border will soon be open, but unless the rules are changed, this is just another slap in the face for the residents and businesses in Point Roberts and other border communities who depend on Canadian travellers to survive.