BURLINGTON, Vt. (WFFF) – The Canadian government is considering steps to re-open the border after being shut down for nearly 15 months. President and CEO Garry Douglas of the North Country Chamber of Commerce says for months, leaders in our region have asked the Canadian government about its border plans.
Douglas says our northern neighbors made mention of a phased reopening process. This could include eliminating the quarantine requirement for travelers who are fully vaccinated.
This week, however, their response has dramatically shifted.
“What we’re looking at now from all reports is serious planning by the Canadian government to take some steps in the coming weeks,” said Douglas.
Members of the Vermont Delegation also say its time to reopen. Late Monday night, Congressman Peter Welch and his colleagues in the Senate sent a letter to encourage the Biden Administration to work with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“We believe, Bernie, Patrick, and me, that it’s time really to reassess and take steps to open up that border particularly for family members,” said Welch.
He says he would like to see the essential categories broadened to families, considering high vaccination numbers on both sides of the border and the challenge of being separated from loved ones.
“It’s really been frustrating and hard for families that are divided by that border,” said Welch.
Douglas says continued separation will have a great economic and social impact.
“To essentially cut off people-to-people relationships — you can’t believe for a minute that is having lasting repercussions on the economic and social relationship between our two countries and not to delay it any longer than necessary,” said Douglas.
On Friday, President Biden will be meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau in the U.K. at the G-7 summit. Douglas expects the border will be a main topic of discussion.
Current border restrictions are up for extension or changes June 21. By then, it’s possible one or both the U.S. and Canadian governments will make a formal announcement.