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Americans visit Canada for first time since March 2020

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 5:17 PM EDT
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OGDENSBURG, New York (WWNY) - Americans are now allowed to visit Canada. If you go, you need to be fully vaccinated and be able to show proof of it, show a negative COVID test, have no symptoms, use the new smart phone app ArriveCAN, and maybe take a COVID test on the spot.

We caught up with some Americans heading for Canada on the first day of the Canadian border opening. It’s creating hope for many – at long last - in U.S. border communities.

“We like to go over for hockey, for shopping, for the ByWard Market, and once a year we like to go gambling at the casino,” said Metza Hewko, Ogdensburg resident

So are Hewko and family excited about maybe being able to do those things again?

“Yes, but the up-your-nose test isn’t exciting,” said Hewko. “I know people who don’t want to have that test done.”

Crossing the border isn’t like it use to be. You’ll need proof of full COVID-19 vaccination and proof of a negative test. That info has to be logged in on an app. The Sherman Inn in Ogdensburg hosted four couples Sunday night who had done all that.

“Some of them told me they’ve been waiting two years to get back to their cabins or their properties in Canada. … I think they were excited after this long wait,” said James Reagen, Sherman Inn co-owner

His guests told Reagen they would be back if they couldn’t get over the border. No one came back.

Finally, people living in the U.S. can cross into Canada. But what about the other way? The border is still closed for Canadians wanting to cross into the U.S.

The U.S. will keep its land border closed to Canadians until at least August 21. The opening can’t come soon enough for businesses and people in border communities.

“Everybody wants the Canadians back. They’re a big part of our northern New York business. They buy things here. They support our restaurants and our gas stations and that all drives the economy,” said Laurel Roethel, owner Roethel Parcel Post.

The Ogdensburg Bridge & Port Authority reported a slight uptick in Canada-bound traffic on the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge Monday morning. Information could not be obtained for the Seaway International Bridge in Massena.

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