Canadians Allowed To Enter Washington For The First Time In 19 Months | Washington
(The Center Square) – Blaine City Councilor Garth Baldwin spotted several unknown license plates in his border town on Monday, the first day the US border was opened to Canadian tourists in 19 months.
âI noticed a few more Canadian vehicles in town today,â he said. âMy office is downtown. There were a few, but not a rush to open the valve by any means. “
Baldwin hopes the visits will speed up.
âOffers to Blaine have increased since many people were last here and those who were previously attended are holding up,â he said. âOnce people get back down and see that we’re open for business, I think things will improve for everyone. “
Jori Burnett, the administrator for the city of Ferndale just down the road on Interstate 5, shares Baldwin’s hope.
âThe City of Ferndale is delighted to once again welcome our safe traveling Canadian friends, neighbors and families who want to familiarize themselves with Northwest Washington and Ferndale,â he said. âIt’s been too long, our businesses and attractions have been open. and we look forward to re-establishing the special relationship between Washington’s Fourth Corner and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.
Burnett boosted Ferndale’s âhospitalityâ, restaurants, stores, parks and other businesses, and he shared with Canadians: âAs we begin to celebrate the 2021 vacation, we will ensure that our red and white lights are particularly bright this year. “
These city officials are looking to get things back to normal because of what Canadian spending has meant in Whatcom County in the past.
âCanadian shoppers are a significant part of the Whatcom County retail sector and accounted for an estimated spend of $ 140 million in 2018 and an average of 11.7% of taxable retail sales,â said the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University in a report. âThe retail stores with the highest proportions of Canadians are Ross, Silver Reef Casino, Costco and downtown Blaine. “
The report also warned that “border restrictions linked to COVID-19 could have a long-term impact on the shopping behavior of Canadians in Whatcom County.”
There are barriers for Canadians entering the United States and then returning to their country on both sides of the border.
To enter the United States, Canadians must prove that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. To return to Canada, they need the results of a COVID-19 test taken in the past 72 hours.
âAt a cost of $ 150 to $ 300 per PCR test, this can be an expensive proposition, especially for families,â Guy Occhiogrosso, CEO of the Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement.
These additional hassles and expenses are likely to keep many Canadians in Canada, although some are already showing themselves willing to jump through these hoops to get to the United States.
âWe hope that as the restrictions decrease and people become more comfortable, things will get back to normal, hopefully someday soon,â Baldwin said. âThe requirement for additional testing for the return to Canada will likely be a mandate that prevents these occasional visitors from making the trip, but time will tell. “
Non-essential border traffic to America had been closed since March 2020. Canada reopened its borders to Americans traveling to Canada in August.