Windsor-Essex residents eager for new border rules, but left with questions about American travellers
‘It’s kind of a thin gruel,’ said co-chair of U.S. Canada interparliamentary group
Some Windsor residents are happy to hear that fully vaccinated Canadians will not be subject to a 14-day quarantine come July, but many have questions around the overall process and border rules.
On Monday, the federal government announced that fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents will be allowed to re-enter the country on July 5 without having to quarantine.
Jonathan Azzopardi, president and CEO of Laval International said this is great news for his business.
"For a business, that means my employees coming home from doing a job they have been contractually obligated to do can now come home, continue to do their job, prepare for the next trip and then go out again to fulfill that contractual obligation with another client," said Azzopardi. "It's critically important."
As of July 5, fully vaccinated individuals will be required to submit documented proof by electronically submitting their COVID-19 related information to the government's ArriveCAN app before arriving. They will be mandated to meet the pre- and on-arrival test requirements, be asymptomatic and provide a suitable quarantine plan.
What about Americans travelling to Canada?
NDP MP for Windsor West Brian Masse, raised a question around timelines for Americans travelling in Canada during Question Period in Parliament.
"When will this government follow the science and open the border to Canadians and Americans who are fully vaccinated?" Masse asked.
"We will continue to take prudent measures, to relax measures on the border as based on science and evidence and today is a good day," said Health Minister Patty Hajdu.
Though Azzopardi is pleased, he says more still needs to be done.
"We still need Americans to cross that border as well, because without the American visitor coming to Canada to actually buy off on this equipment or to be able to fulfill those contractual obligations, we're still on the losing end," said Azzopardi.
Maryscott Greenwood, CEO of the Canada America Business Council, said she's frustrated by the federal government's rationale for not allowing fully-vaccinated U.S. citizens into the country.
"What's the difference between fully vaccinated Canadians and fully vaccinated Americans?" she said.
But Hajdu said she's still consulting with provinces about the next phase of easing travel restrictions.
U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga is the co-chair of U.S. Canada inter-parliamentary group called the announcement a "thin gruel."
"Looking at this situation, I think there is a lot of pent up frustration on both sides of the border. It's both recreationally, people that want to go to a concert, go to a sporting event, go fishing, whatever it might be and quite honestly, concerned about family and their relationships."
Huizenga said he wishes he knew what was preventing the elimination of quarantine rules for Americans coming into Canada, but he does not.
"This has been ad-hoc policy making it seems. It's all situational," he said.
"The urgency to re-open is now."
Non-essential travel not encouraged
While the announcement comes across as good news to some, Windsor-Essex residents are still not advised to travel for non-essential purposes.
Sonja Srdanov, a Windsor-Essex arts teacher, has found the lack of travel into the U.S. to be very challenging.
"It's been difficult as an artist," said Srdanov.
Srdanov frequently travelled to the U.S. for its arts and culture. She said she chose to work as a teacher in Windsor-Essex because she wanted to be closer to the Detroit Institute of the Arts (DIA).
"It's just a cultural gem for me," she said.
While she is receiving her second dose later this week, Srdanov is concerned about the testing process at the border.
"It's like this big effort just to do a day trip to go to the DIA," said Srdanov.
From a business perspective, Azzopardi said Canada should be ready to pull back on the preventative measures now and get back to business along with other countries.
"It's kind of like having the best players on the team, but not being able to deploy them," said Azzopardi.
With files from Chris Ensing