In this May 17 photo, Sylvie Tortorelli (on grass) visits with her parents for the first time in 10 weeks at the border between the U.S. and Canada in Peace Arch Park, in Blaine. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

In this May 17 photo, Sylvie Tortorelli (on grass) visits with her parents for the first time in 10 weeks at the border between the U.S. and Canada in Peace Arch Park, in Blaine. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Most Canadians hope U.S. border closure lasts through summer

Both countries first announced the mutual closing to all non-essential traffic on March 18.

By David Rasbach / The Bellingham Herald

The U.S.-Canadian border is currently scheduled to remain closed for more than three weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, but most Canadians think a late June opening is still too soon, according to a recent study.

Meanwhile, British Columbia announced that it is extending its state of emergency because of COVID-19 for another two weeks, making this the longest state of emergency the province has ever seen.

The U.S. and Canada first announced the mutual closing of the border to all non-essential traffic on March 18 in an effort to prevent the spread of the respiratory illness. Those restrictions were extended in April and again on May 19 until June 21.

But a recent study by Angus Reid Institute, which advertises itself as “Canada’s non-profit foundation committed to independent research,” found most Canadians think June 21 is too soon — way too soon.

Less than one-in-five Canadians polled (19%) said the border should open when the current deadline expires, Angus Reid reported. Most (42%) said September would be a good target to re-open the border to non-essential traffic, while more than a quarter of those polled (26%) said the countries should wait until 2021.

And if the border does open June 21?

Sixty percent of Canadians who live close to the border said they definitely would not cross into the U.S. if the border were to open June 21, Angus Reid reported, and another 24% said they probably wouldn’t take a day trip south of the border this summer.

The United States has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the world, with 1.7 million confirmed cases and 101,562 related deaths as of Thursday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University. Canada, meanwhile, has 89,976 confirmed cases and 6,978 related deaths.

On the West Coast, British Columbia has 2,558 confirmed cases and 164 related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins, while the Washington State Department of Health reported 20,764 cases and 1,106 related deaths as of Wednesday night.

Like the border closure, British Columbia’s state of emergency was first issued on March 18, according to a ctvnews.ca story, and it has since been extended multiple times in two-week increments due to the pandemic.

On Wednesday, Premier John Horgan announced another extension during a news conference in Victoria, B.C., CTV reported.

Before COVID-19, the longest period the province had been under a state of emergency was during the 2017 wildfire season, but Horgan said that has now been eclipsed, CTV reported.

Horgan also said that he didn’t foresee any changes to travel in the near future, as he encouraged B.C. residents to stay home or visit other areas of the province.

“There’s a whole bunch of things that we can do right here in British Columbia,” he said. “Forty-two thousand people booked campsites on Monday. So there’s a lot of British Columbians who have things to do in B.C. that can stimulate our tourism economy.”

The Western Washington University Border Policy Research Institute has found that Canadians comprise approximately 75% of cross-border travelers to and from Whatcom County, depending on the exchange rate, according to information Associate Director Laurie Trautman in an email to The Bellingham Herald. In 2018, that would have represented approximately 10.5 million southbound Canadian travelers through the Blaine, Lynden, Sumas and Point Roberts points of entry.

In this May 17 photo, Kris Browning (left) stands in Canada and holds hands with her husband, Tim Browning, in the U.S., after posing for a photo at the border near Lynden, Washington. With the border closed to nonessential travel amid the global pandemic, families and couples across the continent have found themselves cut off from loved ones on the other side. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

In this May 17 photo, Kris Browning (left) stands in Canada and holds hands with her husband, Tim Browning, in the U.S., after posing for a photo at the border near Lynden, Washington. With the border closed to nonessential travel amid the global pandemic, families and couples across the continent have found themselves cut off from loved ones on the other side. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Essential vs. non-essential

The Canadian Immigration Newsletter also obtained a 28-page internal Canadian Border Services Agency bulletin further clarifying which travel was deemed essential and non-essential by officers at the border during the closure and which types of crossing require a 14-day quarantine.

Among the situations not allowed, according to the information obtained by Newsletter, were:

Visiting a Canadian spouse or family.

Attending the funeral of a family member.

Canadian citizens who live in the U.S. but have a secondary residence in Canada.

Attending church.

Going hunting.

Shopping for clothes or other non-essential goods.

Among the situations allowed that may impact U.S. residents, according to the information obtained by the newsletter, were:

A shared custody agreement across borders (with 14-day quarantine).

Coming to Canada for the birth of a child (depends on hospital restrictions and must quarantine 14 days).

Compassionate visitation, such as for an imminent death (depends on hospital restrictions and must quarantine 14 days).

Students returning to continue studies (depends on the situation and must quarantine 14 days).

Work permit holder whose primary residence is in Canada (with 14-day quarantine).

Essential workers, such as nurses, firefighters and infrastructure crews that live in one country and work in the other (exempt from quarantine).

Non-essential workers who live in one country and work in the other (if the business is permitted to be open, quarantine would be dependent on the nature of work).

Seasonal agricultural work (with 14-day quarantine).

Emergency workers who need to travel through Canada to get to another U.S. location, such as Point Roberts (exempt from quarantine).

Talk to us

More in Northwest

FILE--In this July 19, 2010, file photo, the Columbia River Gorge and Crown Point, at right, are visible from Chanticleer Point near Corbett, Ore. The fast-moving wildfire chewing through Oregon's Columbia River Gorge is threatening more than homes and people. It's also devouring the heart of the state's nature-loving identity.(AP Photo/Don Ryan, file)
Proposal to lay cables under Columbia met with skepticism

Developers say the cables could deliver “clean” energy that will reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

The Cub Creek 2 Fire is burning along the Chewuch River drainage. (U.S. Forest Service)
Winthrop tops US in poor air quality as fires continue

Two large wildfires in hilly, forested areas in the Methow Valley have prompted evacuation notices.

FILE - In this Aug. 26, 2019, file photo, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson speaks at a news conference in Seattle. Washington state sued Johnson & Johnson on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, claiming the company was negligent when it used deceptive marketing to say the drugs were effective for treating pain and were unlikely to cause addiction. The lawsuit filed Thursday says the company that supplies raw materials used to make opiates drove the pharmaceutical industry to recklessly expand the production of the drugs. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Washington AG rejects opioids settlement, wants trial

The proposal would pay Washington about $527.5 million over 18 years if cities and counties opt in.

A pair of wildfires near Winthrop and Mazama have burned nearly 50,000 acres. (U.S. Forest Service)
1,300 Winthrop-area homes under Level 3 or 2 evacuations

A pair of wildland fires in the upper Methow Valley have burned nearly 50,000 acres.

This Feb. 12, 2021, file photo shows the border crossing into the United States in Lacolle, Quebec. The United States Government on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, extended the closure of the land borders with Canada and Mexico to non-essential travelers until at least Aug. 21. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Despite Canadian easing, US extends land border restrictions

People in both countries have been pushing for reopening to resume the flow of visitors and tourists.

East Wenatchee woman receives new set of lungs

For the rest of her life, she faces the possibility that her body could start rejecting her transplant.

Firefighters monitor retardant drops on the Cub Creek 2 Fire near Mazama. (Okanogan County Fire District 6)
Wildfires: State to close all DNR lands in Eastern Washington

The closures takes effect on Friday and will affect about 2,260 square miles of land.

Washington’s death toll from June’s heat wave has reached 112

The number is likely to rise as more deaths are reported and as data is shared between agencies.

Most sheriffs in Washington pledge to protect 2nd Amendment

Citizens’ concerns over government overreach prompted many of the state’s county officials.

Most Read