In the News
The Canadian border is open, but packages are still stacked up in Blaine
By David Rasbach
There wasn’t a deluge of Canadian visitors on the first day of border restrictions being lifted, but Blaine business owners and government officials are happy to start welcoming them back.
Downtown Blaine was quiet on Monday afternoon, Nov. 8, hours after the U.S. government eased restrictions on nonessential travelers coming across the border. While Monday wasn’t typically a busy day before the COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of Canadian visitors on the first day of reopening could be confirmation that it may take a while to see a recovery in cross-border traffic for a community that is highly dependent on those visitors.
At Mail Boxes International, the low number of Canadians coming to pick up their packages on the first day was disappointing, but not altogether surprising for owner Brant Baron. By 2 p.m., Baron had only seen around 10 Canadian customers. Given that his business has packages that have been piling up since the restrictions for non-essential travels went into effect in March 2020, he had hoped to see more people coming in to pick them up.
“A few customers is better than none, but I thought it would have been busier,” Baron told U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, Whatcom County Executive Satpal Sidhu and Blaine Mayor Bonnie Onyon.
All three were touring Blaine businesses on Monday to learn about business owners’ concerns about the border reopening. One chief concern expressed by the business owners to DelBene on the tour was about the procedures Canadians have to deal with while traveling along the border. Canadians need to show proof of being vaccinated to cross into the U.S., but on the way back into Canada they need to show proof they have also tested negative for the virus in a 72-hour window.
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