OTTAWA – Canadian and American tourism groups and some politicians want to see travel restrictions quickly lifted at the land border.
This comes as the Trudeau government readies to provide an update, before measures expire on Monday.
The groups say tens of thousands of jobs continue to be on the line, and than an entire tourism season is at stake.
Tori Bains with the U.S. Travel Association says the border closure has been a huge hit to both economies.
“Each month the travel from Canada remains at a standstill, the U.S. economy loses $1.5 billion in potential travel exports,” Bains explained.
And while reopening the border would have positive impacts on businesses and economies on both sides, there are also other benefits.
“Allowing fully vaccinated travellers to enter Canada will reunite families, let American grandparents meet their Canadian grandchildren, and revive the longest, undefended border in the world,” said Susie Grynol, president and CEO of the Hotel Association of Canada, during a panel discussion.
New York Republican Congressman Chris Jacobs echoes this sentiment, saying for him and many others, the reopening is personal.
“My wife is Canadian and my mother-in-law lives in Kitchener. So my daughter has not seen her grandmother for 16 months,” he said.
“If the NHL can move back and forth across the border in order the play in these Stanley Cup Playoff games, then why can’t the rest of Canadians?” added Beth Potter with the Tourism Industry of Canada.
Federal officials have said the easing of border measures will be a phased-in approach, and have hinted the reopening won’t start until some time in early July.
Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith believes that’s too long of a wait.
“It isn’t fast enough or further enough in keeping with the science,” he said, adding the border should reopen right away.
Premiers have said they hope to hear more details about the reopening plan in a call with the prime minister Thursday night.
The government has already laid out its plans to lift restrictions for certain travellers arriving to Canada by air.
It says the first step will be to allow people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — and who are permitted to enter the country — to forego mandatory hotel quarantine.
Travellers will need to have been fully vaccinated 14 days or more before they arrive in Canada. The only vaccines that will be accepted will be those approved for use in Canada.
Travellers will also continue to be required to have a negative PCR test before boarding their flight to Canada, will have to be tested upon arrival, and have a “suitable quarantine plan to wait for their day-one test results.” People will be expected to quarantine until they get a negative result back.