Local Chamber of Commerce Chair says Border Extension 'Disappointing'

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The local business community is looking for answers after the federal government decided to extend the closure of the Canada/U.S. border.

Officials announced the border will remain closed until July 21 on Friday. The international crossing has been closed to non-essential travel since COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of last year.

The CEO of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce responded to the decision on AM800's Live and Local Saturday. Rakesh Naidu says members of the business community weren't expecting the extension with vaccinations on track.

"Our expectation was that restrictions would be eased gradually and at least those who are vaccinated would be allowed to travel," he says. "Now that it's being pushed back by almost a month it is definitely disappointing."

Naidu says information isn't being shared with stakeholders who should be involved in the conversation.

"We recognize that we all need to be safe ... but at the same time there needs to be a plan, some metrics or some understanding of what it will take to open the border," he says.

Naidu hopes the federal government comes forward with a plan that includes a clear way to track vaccinations.

"People can ensure they're fully vaccinated and they're allowed to cross the border," he says. "Whether that is through the ArriveCAN app that is in place or something similar to what the European Union is doing starting July 1. They'll have something like a vaccine passport."

Windsor-West MP and New Democrat Brian Masse called on the federal government to create a taskforce on the border reopening Friday.

Masse says the Liberal government needs to include public stakeholders in future decisions.

The feds are expected to announce a plan to reopen the border Monday.