After the reopening of the US-Canada border, Americans streamed across it to get vaccinated.
Due to strict regulations and the close of summer travel season, crossings have been discontinued.
Canadian companies have not been able capitalize on the opening of the border as leaders had hoped.
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Canadians were expecting a tsunami from the US once the border was reopened, but they were disappointed to discover that Americans have other travel plans.
On August 2, the US-Canada border was finally open to travelers vaccinated in the USA. This allowed tourists from the United States to finally visit the Great White North, for the first time since March 2021.
The border was crowded with eager Americans. Wait times were up to seven hours at some points.
According to Canada Border Services Agency crossing data, viewed by The Wall Street Journal in its first week, Canada's newly-reopened frontier drew approximately 219,000 non-commercial crossings. The crossing levels in summer 2019 were at 15% their highest point for 2021.
Crossings declined as the summer ended, and border businesses are still without American customers.
It's not as simple as it used to be to cross the Canadian border. No longer is it enough to have a passport and answer a few questions from the border guard to gain entry into Canada.
A negative COVID-19PCR test must be taken within 72 hours of a flight's departure or arrival at a border crossing. A positive COVID-19 test can be shown by travelers who have just recovered it. This is valid for travel between 14 and 180 days before entry.
Canada does not accept antigen tests. They are accepted for entry into other countries, such as the UK. It is also forbidden to enter Canada for unvaccinated travellers or anyone who has not received their last vaccine dose within 14 days.
Before arriving in Canada by air, sea, or land travel, you must complete an online form called "ArriveCan." The form requires that visitors provide an address where they can quarantine if they are positive, and the dates of their vaccinations.
The border staff at CBSA now conduct a health screening for each arrival. This has increased crossing times.
Restrictions are cited by business leaders as the reason for the reduction in casual crossings.
"In the past people would just cross the border to eat and then drive back home," Ritu Khanna said to the Wall Street Journal. She is the executive director of South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce, a chamber of commerce in Canada's British Columbia. "Now, people are coming cautiously because there are so much requirements."
The Journal reported that 67% of foreign visitors arrived in the country by air. However, these travelers often bypass the border cities and land directly at Canada's main cities.
However, not all businesses are feeling the pinch. One eco-lodge in Manitoba reported an increase in its customers since the announcement of reopening. Adam Pauls from Churchill Wild stated to the Journal that foreign tourists are what have brought his business to full capacity since mid-September. However, the business's capacity is limited due to restrictions by the government.
This is because Canadians are less likely to cross their border cities to avoid the US. Canadians cannot cross the border to the mainland for any non-essential reason beyond September 21st. This is part of an ongoing border closure the Biden administration has in place.
Canadians are allowed to fly into the US without restrictions. Some businesses have adapt to the situation, including a helicopter service that takes tourists from St. Catherines (Ontario) near Niagara Falls to Buffalo, New York. This allows them to bypass any border restrictions.
Canada will allow all fully vaccinated foreign citizens to enter Canada starting September 7. This could give Canadian businesses a greater boost. However, with summer ending, many Canadian businesses are losing revenue from seasonal American tourists.