CANADA (WWTI) — With COVID cases rising and the omicron variant looming, Canada is changing its guidance to advise people to avoid non-essential travel outside the country. Even so, the Canadian border remains open.
Canadian officials made the announcement as omicron spreads across the globe. Currently, the advisory for Canadian citizens is not a mandate and does apply to Americans crossing the border.
Businesses in the North Country have already been impacted by lack of border traffic during the pandemic, and some say they’re concerned by any talk of restricting travel. Canadians are a major contributor to the region’s tourism industry as they dock boats in marinas around Lake Champlain and travel to engage in recreational activities like hiking in the Adirondacks.
In the summer, Lakeside Coffee in Rouses Point is often packed with Canadians. “It’s very important and vital to the economics of the local region to go ahead and have Canadians come from Canada and be allowed to pass through the border freely,” said owner Norman Lague. “We do want to get back to normal at some point. We understand there is a pandemic, but we think it can be done in a safe manner.”
“With the recent lighting up of travel restrictions, we did see more Canadian travel coming down checking on their boats and passing through,” said Lague.
Lawmakers in the North Country don’t want to see the border shut down again. In a statement, Rep. Elise Stefanik said “imposing more requirements on cross-border travel would only make our nation’s current supply chain worse.”
Sen. Dan Stec echoed her sentiment in a statement. “Keeping the northern border open to all is important for our economy and to many families on both sides of the border.”
Garry Douglas, president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, said “we are pleased that for the time being at least, they have decided to advise Canadians not to travel internationally but are not changing current requirements at the land border.
Canadians can visit the US for up to 72 hours without a test, and Americans can still visit Canada with use of the ArriveCan app and a PCR test.