Friday, October 15, 2021
ADVT 
National

COVID testing a concern for Point Roberts, Wash.

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 14 Oct, 2021 10:05 AM
  • COVID testing a concern for Point Roberts, Wash.

VANCOUVER - COVID-19 testing requirements for Canadians driving home from the United States could only prolong the hardships for the tiny coastal town of Point Roberts, Wash., community leaders say.

Point Roberts is disconnected from the rest of the state by water, requiring residents to drive through Metro Vancouver to get to Washington state's mainland.

Brian Calder, president of the Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce, said that before COVID-19, the community would see about 1.5 million visitors each year, but half of them often spent an hour or less in the town getting cheaper gas, buying groceries or checking on their cabins or boats.

When the U.S. border reopens to vaccinated Canadians, there will be no testing requirement to go south, but Canada requires a negative COVID-19 test to return and Calder said that's a problem for Point Roberts.

Point Roberts only offers testing on Wednesdays and Sundays, which he said would limit Canadian visitors.

He said he's hoping theCanadian government lifts the testing regulation for the town.

"We're a completely unique place in North America and we deserve to be treated uniquely," he said, citing a 87 per cent vaccination rate in the community. "We've been very proactive as a community. The last thing we want is to be conduits of COVID, but we're not being listened to."

Land and sea borders between the U.S. and Canada have been closed to non-essential travel since March 21, 2020, and the closure order was extended every 30 days until Oct. 12, when the White House confirmed it would be officially reopening the border to Canadians next month.

U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are fully vaccinated have been allowed to enter Canada by land since Aug. 9.

Calder said the closure has been "economically devastating" for the town, where 90 per cent of the economy was eliminated because of pandemic travel restrictions.

"It's dependent on Canada, not neighbouring communities in the United States, so when you close that border, we're toast."

Ali Hayton, owner of Point Roberts International Marketplace, the community's only grocery store, said she was excited to hear the border news but remains "guardedly hopeful."

"They've gotten our hopes up before, so I'm hoping it's real this time because we just need our customers back," said Hayton.

In July, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee visited the point and provided Hayton with $100,000 in state funding to help keep her business operating.

"The loss of revenue in the last 19 months is well over $10 million, so the funding did help, but it only scratches the surface," she said. "We've been really struggling, especially since Aug. 9, when they allowed our (American) customers to leave without allowing any Canadians to come back down."

Calder said he estimates it will take two to three years for the local economy to recover should borders remain open and the testing requirement is lifted, but citizens arewary of the border potentially closing again.

"The confidence in our border ability has been dashed and that will undermine what it will now take to bring people back and rebuild the economy," he said. "People come here for calmness, tranquility and recreation. They don't want apprehension and fear, so that's my biggest concern now."

While the U.S. administration has said the land border will reopen in early November, an exact date hasn't been released.

 

MORE National ARTICLES

Board report due after wildfire in Lytton, B.C.

Board report due after wildfire in Lytton, B.C.

The fire raced through the town on June 30, killing two people and leaving few buildings undamaged, after a heat wave pushed the temperature up to a Canadian record of 49.6 C in Lytton.

Board report due after wildfire in Lytton, B.C.

Investigations underway into three separate attacks on women: Surrey RCMP

Investigations underway into three separate attacks on women: Surrey RCMP

Between September 27, and October 10, 2021 there have been three separate incidents. In each circumstance, a woman was walking alone and grabbed from behind by an unknown man. Thankfully, all three women were able to escape without physical injuries; however, incidents like these can have lasting emotional impacts.

Investigations underway into three separate attacks on women: Surrey RCMP

Road closure due to a serious motor vehicle incident

Road closure due to a serious motor vehicle incident

On October 14, 2021 at 05:39 a.m., Surrey RCMP responded to the report of a motor vehicle collision that involved a pedestrian at the intersection of 108 Avenue and 140 Street. The pedestrian sustained significant injuries and has been transported to hospital. 

Road closure due to a serious motor vehicle incident

Abbotsford Police need public's assistance in locating Chamkaur Singh Maan wanted for sexual assault

Abbotsford Police need public's assistance in locating Chamkaur Singh Maan wanted for sexual assault

He is South Asian, 41 years old, is 5ft 5 inches tall and weighs 281 Lbs. He has short dark hair and brown eyes.  Mann is known to the frequent the Clearbrook area. 

Abbotsford Police need public's assistance in locating Chamkaur Singh Maan wanted for sexual assault

Third hospital in B.C. declares COVID outbreak

Third hospital in B.C. declares COVID outbreak

There have been four more deaths in the province, including three in the Northern Health area, where the health minister has said the vaccination rate is lower than the rest of the province.

Third hospital in B.C. declares COVID outbreak

Incoming army commander under investigation

Incoming army commander under investigation

Cadieu was recently promoted and a ceremony to install him as head of the army was slated for Sept. 7. A 29-year veteran of the military, Cadieu previously served in Bosnia and Afghanistan before most recently providing analysis and advice to the chief of the defence staff.

Incoming army commander under investigation

PrevNext