North Country businesses excited for Canada to lift border vaccination requirement
Canada will remove its vaccination requirements for travelers beginning October 1.
Canadian officials made that announcement after months of slowly easing back on COVID-19 restrictions at the border. Corey Fram, director of tourism at the Thousand Island International Tourism Council, said that the best time to remove restrictions is now.
"The best time to ease restrictions, I've always said, is today," Fram said. "Let's get it done as quick as we can. I am glad to hear that it is coming this weekend, however, that's not a lot of consolation prize for operators like marinas."
Many industries and businesses were hurt by the COVID-19 restrictions including marinas, restaurants, hotels and shopping centers. Fram said even though the peak travel season is over now, removing the restrictions will help industries in 2023.
"This is not going to help their numbers out at all because these are seasonal operations," Fram said. "But it at least is setting us up for some more success in 2023."
While Canadian restrictions are going away, the U.S. border vaccination policy remains in effect. Fram said that even with the removal of just the Canadian vaccination requirement will lead to a significant increase in passenger travel.
"What we have seen for the last, almost 18 months now, is a loosening of those restrictions and every step has led to more cross-border traffic," Fram said. "This will be a rather significant step coming up here this weekend, as reported, so we anticipate seeing those passenger car numbers start to pick back up."
Fram said that the slow ease of restrictions has been hard for people to keep up with.
"This easing back on restrictions over the last 18 months has created a lot of confusion," Fram said. "There's been so many baby steps that have happened along the way to get us back to a pre-COVID relationship that it has been challenging for people to keep up with. And we're still not all the way there yet."
The U.S. vaccination border policy will remain in effect and no announcement has been made on its expiration.