Extended border closure means extended hardship for local businesses

WWNY Extended border closure means extended hardship for local businesses

CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - Businesses along the St. Lawrence River have been dealt a blow. The U.S. - Canadian border will be closed longer. That means businesses that rely on the Canadian customer will be losing longer.

Shawn Di Prinzio is prepping her Clayton restaurant for dinner service. She owns Di Prinzio's Kitchen and Di Prinzio's Market and says Canadians make up a good portion of her customers.

"I would say at least 30 percent every single day," she said.

But this year's different. The U.S. - Canadian border has been closed to non-essential travel since March and that will continue until July 21.

That means no Canadian tourists to places like Clayton, which Di Prinzio says will hurt her business.

"The numbers will obviously be down because of the loss of those customers," she said.

According to Thousand Islands International Tourism Council Director Corey Fram, the main portion of the area's tourism season is from late June to Labor Day.

"By cutting off that pipeline from Canada into this half of the region through the potentially third week of July, you've really lost almost half of the core season," he said.

And Fram says there's another industry aside from restaurants that will take a hit.

"Our ferries traveling back and forth from Canada to the U.S. based on Cape Vincent will certainly be impacted," he said.

Horne's Ferry typically shuttles people from Cape Vincent to Canada's Wolfe Island. But the ferry's operator, George Horne, says with the border closure extended, they're not running at all.

"Not until they open the border, whenever that is. It was supposed to be June 21, now it's July. Hopefully it will be July," he said.

Horne says he doesn't expect to make up the money he's lost even if the border reopens in July.

"The months that are gone are gone. You'll wait until next year and hope it's better," he said.

Better next year, but first you have to get to next year. And some business owners will tell you, in this unusual year, that’s a real concern.

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