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Coronavirus: Calgarian living in Houston backs extended border closure

COVID-19: Some Canadians and Americans back an extended border closure
WATCH ABOVE: A Calgary couple in the U.S. and an American in Calgary say both countries should “keep the border closed.” The border has been closed to non-essential travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomasia DaSilva explains why they say now is not the time to reopen.

A Calgary couple currently living in Houston is urging both Canada and the United States to keep their border closed.

Jim Mochulsky and Monique Ferguson told Global News the situation stateside is just too volatile to consider reopening now.

“Keep the border closed and let’s contain it,” Mochulsky said. “With COVID[-19] running as rampant as it is here, it’s just the smart thing to do.”

A Calgary couple now living stateside rides out the pandemic
A Calgary couple now living stateside rides out the pandemic. Zoom

The couple moved to Houston almost a year-and-a-half ago for life and job opportunities. The pandemic was the last thing they expected to happen.

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“Nobody could ever have predicted anything like what’s going on,” Mochulsky said. “And now we’re passenger to it right? Now we’re buckled in.”

Read more: Canada, U.S. likely to extend border closure into late August: sources

Canada and the United States are also buckled in. The Canada-U.S. border has been closed to discretionary travel like vacations and shopping trips since the pandemic took hold of the continent in mid-March. A rolling 30-day mutual agreement is currently set to expire July 21, but that is now widely expected to be extended until late August.

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“We recognize the situation continues to be complex in the United States,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday.

“We’re going to continue to work hard to keep Canadians safe.”

The news of a possible extended border closure is also welcomed by Steve Finley, an American now living in Calgary.

All of his extended family is still in the Phoenix and Chicago areas. But even though he is a dual citizen and he misses them dearly, Finley has no immediate plans to visit.

“The numbers are just phenomenal,” he said. “At the rate they’re going, I mean, you’re looking at probably 200,000 deaths by the first of August, and then if you get a second wave — it’s going to be crazy.”

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American Steve Finley, now living in Calgary, is dismayed at the news out of the United States
American Steve Finley, now living in Calgary, is dismayed at the news out of the United States. Global News

Finley said at the rate the United States is going, he expects the border closure to last much longer than the summer — possibly even into the new year.

“You just shake your head,” he said. “What are they thinking?

“I just hope they’re able to turn this ship around. I don’t know what it’s going to take.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Lifting Canada’s border closure still too risky, Trudeau says

Mochulsky told Global News he believes governments in Canada, along with citizens, have done a much better job of containing the spread of the novel coronavirus and following health protocols.

He doesn’t think Americans have shown the same vigilance.

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“I think we started out good [but] then of course everyone wants to open up and get back to work,” he said. “And somewhere in the middle of all that, the economics kind of took over from the science and the medical part.”

Mochulsky and Ferguson don’t regret moving to Houston, but do regret not being able to see their elderly parents in Canada and their kids.

“It’s hard — yeah, it really is,” Ferguson said. “We speak with our kids regularly, but it’s just not the same as being able to see them.”

That is something they said they hope to change one day soon, but not too soon.