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US border to remain closed to Canadians for at least another month

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 2:26 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2021 at 6:40 PM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - The northern land border will remain closed to Canadians trying to visit the United States for at least another month. And the federal government announced new vaccination and testing restrictions for international travelers coming to the country by air.

“It’s inexplicable,” said Garry Douglas, the president and CEO of the North Country Chamber of Commerce.

“After 18 months we still can’t figure it out. I’m frustrated beyond belief,” said Assemblyman Billy Jones, D-Chateaugay Lake.

The conversation continues in New York’s North Country on the need to reopen the international land border between the U.S. and Canada.

“All the other things that connect us economically is more than $2 billion-- with a B-- dollars a year. You don’t mess around with that,” Douglas said.

For 18 months, calls have come from both sides of the aisle for the border to reopen, as many fear what a prolonged closure will mean for the relationship between the two countries.

“It is not even on any priority list and that is just astounding to all of us who understand just how vital and important the U.S.-Canadian relationship is socially and also economically, and how much damage is being done,” Douglas said.

North Country leaders are frustrated the White House’s new rules reopening the country for international travel didn’t include land borders.

“It’s discriminatory to people who can’t afford a flight,” Jones said.

Douglas questions whether the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border is affecting decisions about the northern border.

“Acknowledge that OK, we want to set the same policies and goals for both borders but we also understand the northern border is ready to move faster. Same policies different spreads,” he said.

Douglas says if they were preparing to open the border soon, there would be word of training to prepare staff for the changes which does not seem to be happening.

“We are adrift and there is no reason to expect we are not going to remain adrift until, I hate to say it, the end of the year,” Douglas said.

I did reach out the Department of Homeland Security to see if there were any plans in place for movement to reopen the border but I didn’t hear back before this story was published.

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