'Deeply annoying:' U.S. border restrictions leave Canadians, Americans frustrated and confused
ARNPRIOR, ONT. -- The announcement Wednesday that the United States would be keeping land border crossings closed to Canadians for all non-essential travel until at least Aug. 21 has left at least one border town mayor frustrated and annoyed.
Canada announced earlier this week that starting Aug. 9, all fully vaccinated Americans would be able to cross into Canada for any reason once again, but the U.S. is not reciprocating, a move that’s left Prescott Mayor Brett Todd frustrated.
“To find out that the Americans are simply not willing to do the same is simply very frustrating and deeply annoying, quite frankly,” said Prescott, Ont. mayor Brett Todd.
The Johnstown bridge is minutes from Prescott and connects with Ogdensburg, N.Y.
“We know there’s a lot of travel into the U.S. Some of it is to visit family and friends, a lot of it’s for shopping, a lot of it is for vacation purposes and so on,” Todd says, adding there are a lot of pent up Canadians wanting to make the trip Stateside.
“I do think that they’re actually selling themselves short on this as well. They’re impacting their own border communities.”
Jonathan Nause is one of those Canadians itching to travel again. The Ottawa resident recently returned via airplane from a NASCAR trip. He had plans to go to another race in early August in New York State, but has now it the brakes on that trip.
“Coming up on this one now, this next trip it’s going to have to be flying and renting a car again, I just don’t think that we’re going to be able to do it financially.”
Nause adds that in his experience, life has largely returned to normal in the States, and he even faced one of his fears to have that feeling again.
“I hate flying, terrified of heights, don’t like the concept of flying but I just did it. I had to go. I had to get back living life.”
The decision to restrict Canadians from crossing the border is one that is confusing to many. Canada has recently surpassed America in terms of vaccination rate; as of Wednesday morning 51.5% of Canadians were fully vaccinated compared to 48.3% of Americans.
“It’s definitely a little frustrating seeing that, because I think the Syracuse Mets had around 10,000 people in their stadium here recently,” says Jessie Hooper, the events manager at Thousand Islands Winery located in New York State, referencing a baseball game played on July 4.
Hooper says this would usually be the winery’s busiest time of year with lots of tours, tastings, and rentals, but they are missing a big chunk of their business due to the lack of Canadian tourists.
“We’re definitely missing some of those groups,” Hooper tells CTV News. “On the State side, we’re slowly seeing more and more of them.”
“It’s a one-way street right now and I would say I think the one way-street is still under construction,” says Todd of the border situation.
“I’m not sure how much travelling is actually going to be happening.”