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7/30/2020   - "IT'S LIKE GROUNDHOG DAY, OVER AND OVER!"

In the classic movie "Groundhog Day", Bill Murray's character wakes up each morning to the music of Sonny & Cher, finding himself living the same day over and over again. Well, we may not be hearing Sonny & Cher every morning but "The Beat Goes On" when it comes to the decision making process regarding our northern border.

Every thirty days, we seem stuck in the cycle of repeating a simplistic extension of border crossing restrictions, no matter what we say or do to encourage at least the development of a bi-national road map for eventual decision making on how to return to normalcy. At thirty days a clip, perhaps we've been stuck not in Groundhog Day but a bad sequel: Groundhog Month!

The failure of both federal governments to enunciate any framework for eventual decisions that should be based on evolving facts, metrics and dialogue is, in the context of the current historic interruption of one of the most valuable bi-national social and economic connections on earth, a seemingly clear case of policy making malpractice.

Let's be clear. No one has been calling simply for full reopening. Rather, our Chamber, other partner organizations in both countries and 29 Members of Congress led by Reps. Elise Stefanik and Brian Higgins -- among others -- have continued to call for some appropriate plan. And, in the interim, active consideration of some potential expansions of identified cross border travel allowed as essential. Suggestions for study and discussion have included such things as family; people who own property within some distance from the border; and/or some forms of basic business travel required to sustain and grow our bi-national economy. Cue the crickets.

Like Bill Murray, we will eventually break the pattern and move into the future. And like his character in Groundhog Day, we will not cease our efforts each day to help find a way forward.

Onward and upward!

Garry Douglas
President and CEO
North Country Chamber of Commerce

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