5/19/2020 - Border News
CHAMBER REACTS TO EXTENSION OF BORDER RESTRICTIONS
"While today's joint decision by the Canadian and U.S. governments to extend existing border crossing restrictions for another thirty days is not unexpected, it is nevertheless profoundly sad," states Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce.
Today, the two federal governments announced that the restrictions on personal travel which had last been extended for thirty days on April 21 are being extended for an additional thirty days to June 21.
"We can only hope that conditions in both countries are sufficiently improved and progressing by June 21 that we can avoid another extension thereafter," says Douglas. "The fact remains that Canada is especially concerned about U.S. visitation and by the return of Canadians from U.S. visits, seeing our country as one of the main sources of the virus in Canada initially, so we need to understand that and realize that steady improvement around the U.S., including in New York, is the one way we can move toward eventual loosening of the travel restrictions. And because the border is bi-national, there has to be consensus between both countries, with no ability to regionalize travel."
While the restrictions limit cross border travel by individuals to established essential purposes such as health care workers and other cross border commuters involved in essential employment, commercial traffic remains unrestricted with truck drivers and pilots identified as essential. "The commercial movements at Champlain remain active, demonstrating the underlying strength of the Quebec-New York economic partnership and maintaining crucial supply chain connections for many of our North Country manufacturers," notes Douglas.
Douglas notes the extension will especially impact seasonal businesses who would normally be hosting many Canadian customers at this time of year, including marinas, campgrounds, hotels, golf courses, restaurants and shopping destinations among others. "As these businesses start to reopen in the coming weeks, it will be without our Canadian friends for now and that certainly makes successful reopening much harder," he says. "We can only continue to encourage our area residents to maximize business activity at our local businesses going forward as one way everyone can help."
Douglas reports the North Country Chamber is working actively with northern partners on strategies and plans for the future, including an upcoming virtual roundtable with the FCCQ (Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Quebec) and regular conversations with Quebec and Canadian officials. He also notes that the Chamber's Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau is finalizing a revised Marketing Plan for the remainder of 2020, developing messaging and strategies that seek to position us for the eventual return of Canadian visitation while looking to maximize locally based activities and spending in the interim.
Douglas adds, "As we have said in the past, the separation this means from our friends, neighbors and family to the north continues to be profoundly sad, and reminds us how special and important our bi-national connectivity is to all of us."