NW Week

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Businesses along the US border are upbeat as some restrictions are lifted

Businesses along the US border

Key Takeaways:

  • Canada’s people visiting the United States for less than 72 hours are no longer required to take the COVID-19 test.
  • The pandemic brought many changes to Ryden’s Border Store, a famous shop and parcel delivery warehouse in northern Minnesota, just across the Canada-US border at Pigeon River.

Usually, the store in Cook County, Minn., was bustling with customers stopping for gas, snacks, or to pick up parcels Ryden’s accepts deliveries for Canadians looking to save money on international shipping. The border crossing is located approximately 60 kilometers south of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

But Lori Boomer hasn’t seen any of those scenes at her store in a long time, as the pandemic and border restrictions between Canada and the United States have dragged on for the past two years.

“We were expecting a few visitors. But, instead, the duty-free shop was closed, as was the gas station, “She stated. “It’s been a bit of a ghost town.”

Throughout it all, however, the parcels never stopped arriving. “We got deliveries every day,” Boomer explained. “They’re in every garage, every old apartment, and every old motel room.”

Things were slow at the Pigeon River crossing on Tuesday morning, the first day the new rules took effect. A few cars were crossing into the United States, but there was no rush, no line of vehicles.

Brian Sherburne, an administrator at Grand Portage Lodge and Casino, located just down the road from Ryden’s, was unconcerned about the lack of traffic. “It’s not going to be a floodgate of people,” he predicted. “I think we have to be honest and recognize that there is still a lot of anxiety in this world about various variants in light of the most recent one that was just announced.”

This variant, omicron, prompted Canada to restrict travel from several countries last week. “I believe people will make calculated decisions about when, how, and where to travel.”

Sherburne said the casino had a good summer, with visitors from all over the country. Minnesota is still a hotspot for COVID-19 cases, and Thunder Bay’s top health official, Dr. Janet DeMille, has warned people to be cautious if they cross into the United States.

Source: CBC News

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