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9/16/2020 - CHAMBER DISPLEASED BORDER EXTENSION STILL BRINGS NO PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
Canadian government officials are confirming that existing restrictions on cross border travel are being extended from September 21 to October 21. The bi-national restrictions leave commercial shipping activities unaffected but limit personal travel across the border to defined essential categories including cross border commuters such as hundreds of Canadian nurses and health care professionals who work in New York, truck drivers, emergency personnel and a few other limited purposes.
"As with the last few extensions, we wholly expected this latest action, so it is not a surprise," states Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce. "But it's time to once again cue the crickets in both federal governments as they continue to ignore reasonable calls for a reopening plan with metrics and a decision making process, as well as a call to at least study and consider a number of modest interim measures that have been suggested, such as expanded family connections, the visitation of property within 50 or 100 miles of the border and some added forms of business related travel such as site visits."
Adds Douglas, "Continuing to treat a policy action that is so extremely impactful on one of the most important bi-national economic and social connections on Earth with such a lack of dialogue and planning is, as we have said before, a case of enormous public policy malpractice. We will remain actively engaged with the Northern Border Caucus in Congress, co-chaired by Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Congressman Brian Higgins, as well as our other partners in both countries, renewing the call for a response to our requests before October 21 rolls around."
The Chamber again welcomes the continuation of uninterrupted commercial activity at the border, preserving bi-national supply chains which are especially important to the North Country's large and growing manufacturing community as well as to the overall U.S.-Canada economic partnership.
The North Country Chamber reports that car traffic at the Champlain border crossing, which is the main New York-Quebec border gateway, was down 96% in August compared with a year earlier (5,828 vs. 143,153) while truck traffic was up 3% (from 24,545 to 25,106).