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Expensive Virus Test Still Hinders Canadian Travel to U.S.

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Throughout the pandemic, Canadians have been in a position to journey to the United States for nonessential causes like visiting household and mates, however there was a catch: They had to fly.

That’s as a result of the United States would let Canadian residents cross the land border just for a restricted variety of business-related causes, like having a well being care job on the American facet. Now the land border has reopened for all totally vaccinated vacationers, however Canadians nonetheless face a catch that will deter fast journeys, and this time it’s one launched by their very own authorities.

Canada, which reopened its border to vacationers from the United States in August, requires that anybody coming into the nation current a unfavourable coronavirus take a look at taken inside 72 hours, and it’ll not settle for comparatively low-cost fast checks. Instead, the end result should come from a extra dependable polymerase chain response, or P.C.R., take a look at, which may price properly over $100 and take one to two days.

Canadians crossing for just some hours can take the take a look at in Canada earlier than they depart. But some teams and politicians on each side of the border have mentioned just lately that the associated fee and inconvenience related to P.C.R. testing can be a strong deterrent to journey.

Air vacationers have already raised considerations about the associated fee. Angus Reid, the chairman of a nonprofit polling group that bears his identify, mentioned his son, daughter-in-law and two kids had paid $1,200 for checks to return from Palm Springs, Calif.

“Plus finding test centers in US is increasingly difficult,” he wrote on Twitter over the weekend. “This needs to change. Now!”

In Blaine, Wash., a small border metropolis south of Vancouver, gasoline stations and transport shops remained quiet Monday morning. Apart from a handful of Canadian license plates, the town confirmed little signal that the border had simply reopened.

Doug Hornsby, the proprietor of Border Mailbox and Parcel, mentioned just one Canadian buyer had picked up packages that morning. The man, from Alberta, had 17 packages ready for him, the oldest of which had been there since March 2020.

Because of the testing requirement, Mr. Hornsby mentioned he didn’t count on many extra clients.

Skye Hill, the proprietor of a Chevron in Blaine, mentioned her retailer had simply completed $1 million in renovations earlier than the border closed. Since then, income has plummeted 90 p.c.

Ms. Hill described Monday’s reopening as “anticlimactic.”

“Everyone’s so excited. You know, ‘The border’s finally opened after two years,’” she mentioned. “But really, our business depends on those day trips.”

“We aren’t going to see those people, I don’t think, until they lift that Covid test,” she added.

Closing the land border to most individuals had a drastic impact. In August 2019, barely greater than three million non-public automobiles entered the United States from Canada at land crossings. This August, there have been solely 449,004 such crossings.

The testing coverage might quickly change. On Friday, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public well being officer, mentioned the P.C.R. take a look at requirement was being “actively looked at.”