Windsorites divided on whether U.S. border closure extension is the right move

Windsorites have mixed reactions to the latest border closure extension, and one newcomer to the city is even considering a costly plane ticket to fly into the Motor City if driving is not an option soon.

'I've never been to Detroit!' says Windsor newcomer

The U.S. land border closure has been extended until at least Sep. 21. (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC)

The U.S Department of Homeland Security has extended the land border crossing restrictions between Canada and the U.S. once again and there's no consensus among Windsorites on whether it is necessary.

One Windsor newcomer is looking into buying plane tickets to fly into Detroit from Toronto.

Amanda Li moved to Windsor from Toronto last year and has never been to Detroit.

"Right now I can't physically drive to Detroit. It's only a kilometre away, but I'm not actually allowed to enter for non-essential reasons," she said. "But I can fly."

Li says one of the reasons she moved to Windsor was to be close to the Motor City.

"You get a lot of that big city feel but you live in Windsor where it's a little quieter," she said. 

Amanda Li lives 1.2km from Detroit but because of the border closure, she has never been to the city since moving from Toronto. (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC)

On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended the closure of land borders between Canada and the U.S. for another month, to Sep. 21. In a statement, DHS cited the delta variant and case counts as the reason for keeping its land border closed.

"The Delta variant is driving an increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the United States," the department wrote. "Canada and Mexico are also seeing increased case counts and deaths."

The decision came two weeks after Canada opened its land border to fully vaccinated Americans that have a negative PCR test within the previous 72 hours.

WATCH: Windsorites respond to the border closure extension

'I'm fine with the border still being closed,' says one Windsor resident

4 months ago
Windsor residents have a mixed bag of opinions on the recent border closure extension. 1:37

Laurie Tannous, a special advisor to the Cross Border Institute at the University of Windsor, said business travellers have been hit the hardest by the latest extension. 

"These are people that don't necessarily need or don't qualify for a work permit but have operations, have businesses, have clients, have customers in the U.S. and they just need to go over for a couple of hours for a meeting and be able to return back to Canada," said Tannous. 

As a professor at the University of Windsor, Tannous said the extended closure has forced her to alter her curriculum on the impacts of the border.

"Materials I've been teaching for 15 years, I've had to completely uproot and upend. The rules of the game have completely changed and nothing is the way it was before," she said. 

Tannous says Canada's willingness to open its border to vaccinated Americans is a good sign, but she predicts the U.S. border will not open until late fall.

That leaves frustrated Windsorites like Amanda Li with few options.

"It's very expensive [to fly] compared to driving," she said. "I know flying is not the most environmentally friendly form of transportation so having to do that comes with a bit of hesitation."

Li says she's hoping to attend the Detroit marathon Oct. 16 and 17 but knows she may have to buy a plane ticket to make it happen.

With files from Jennifer La Grassa and Darrin Di Carlo


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