Canada on Monday is lifting its prohibition on Americans crossing the border to shop, vacation or visit, but the United States is keeping similar restrictions in place for Canadians, part of a bumpy return to normalcy from Covid-19 travel bans, according to AP.
US citizens and legal permanent residents must be both fully vaccinated and test negative for CovidD-19 within three days to get across one of the world’s longest and busiest land borders. Travellers also must fill out a detailed on application on the arriveCAN app before crossing.
Even though travelers have to register, the Canada Border Services Agency won’t say how many people they are expecting to enter Canada for the reopening. But travelers should plan for the possibility of additional processing time at the border.
“CBSA will not compromise the health and safety of Canadians for the sake of border wait times,” agency spokeswoman Rebecca Purdy said in a statement.
While the Canada Border Services Agency won’t say how many people it’s expecting, Garnet Health, an Essex, Vermont-based company that offers same-day Covid-19 testing, has seen the number of tests it performs more than triple in recent weeks. The increase coincides with Canada’s decision last month to drop a two-week quarantine requirement for its citizens when they return home from the US
“I imagine once that border opens, we are going to see lots of people,” said Chelsea Sweeney, the company’s director of business development.
The US-Canada border has been closed to nonessential travel since March 2020 to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The US has said it will extend its closure to all Canadians making nonessential trips until at least August 21, which also applies to the Mexican border. But the Biden administration is beginning to make plans for a phased reopening. The main requirement would be that nearly all foreign visitors to the US will have to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
But Canadians aren’t waiting for reciprocal rules.
Joel Villanueva, owner of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock, British Columbia, about 2.5 miles (4 kilometres) north of the US border, is more than ready for Americans to return.
“Let’s get this thing going,” he said. “A lot of our customers are from the United States, and we are literally minutes from across the border. We welcome our Americans, and we depend on their foot traffic.”
Villanueva said he supports people coming who are fully vaccinated and doesn’t think there will be a rush of Americans initially. But if his restaurant and dozens of others along the waterfront could fill some tables with US visitors every day for the rest of the summer, it would be a big financial boost, he said.