Local excitement builds over reopening U.S. - Canada border

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 5:08 PM EDT
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ALEXANDRIA BAY, New York (WWNY) - There’s plenty of enthusiasm in the north country. It’s all because the U.S. - Canadian border will soon be open to vaccinated Canadians who want to visit the states.

Since March of 2020, Canadians have not been allowed into the U.S. for non-essential travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s been a disappointment for area business owners who rely on Canadian tourism and a challenge for Americans who have loved ones across the border.

Since early August, vaccinated Americans have been able to cross into Canada, but not vice versa.

Now, federal officials say the border will reopen to vaccinated Canadians in early November.

It’s an exciting feeling for artist Lisa Wagner, who contributes to the Bay House Artisans Gallery in Alexandria Bay.

“We actually have three or four artists here that are Canadian, so they haven’t been able to come back and we miss them so much,” she said.

Plus, the boost in business has been missed now for two tourism seasons.

“All the Canadians that come in here, they’re so nice and so kind. They’re very generous,” said Wagner.

At Swan Bay Resort and Marina, the lack of Canadian business has been a big loss.

“It’s been hard; we’ve had so many cancellations and last year people pushed their reservation back to this year, and still had to cancel,” said Sarah Dishon, manager.

But what’s been harder for Dishon is that her family is across the border.

“In December, it will be two years since I’ve seen my dad. We went to Michigan and stood at a border at the St. Claire River, and that’s the closest we’ve been. But, I can’t wait for that hug,” she said.

In the north country, tourism season has passed. But at the border, many say it’s better late than never.

“I have goosebumps thinking about it. I can’t wait,” said Dishon.

There’s still no clarification on what day Canadians can cross over. Officials have just said early November.

We are also waiting to learn the requirements for Canadians to cross. Right now, we know that they must be fully vaccinated.

For Americans crossing into Canada, they need proof of vaccination, a negative COVID test, and to fill out an online form.

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