Extended border closure means another month apart for some couples

Click to play video: 'Separated by border closure'
Separated by border closure
Separated by border closure – Jul 17, 2020

The Canada-U.S. border is remaining closed until Aug. 21, and for some that means another month away from their loved ones.

One of them is Winnipegger Jaymi Brown. Her boyfriend, Joel Bunn, is a dual U.S.-Australian citizen. They haven’t seen each other since Jan. 2.

“It’s been really tough, I think (our) mental health has really taken a toll. It’s been a really tough time to not be able to connect,” Brown said, adding that she’s joined a Facebook group with numerous couples in a similar situation.

“I think the uncertainty is the worst part for a lot of people, because we just have absolutely no idea… It could be in September, it could be in 2021.”

Read more: Canada, U.S. extend border closure agreement until Aug. 21

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Brown says while she doesn’t think the Canada-U.S. border should be open, she wishes there was a bit more leeway.

“I think its really frustrating for those of us that are waiting for special exemptions to occur and then we’re not getting them, but meanwhile there’s NHL players that are allowed to and from between the countries,” she said.

“That’s probably been the most frustrating part, is that I feel like maybe the Canadian government has really been prioritizing those economic ventures and disregarding, it feels like, the mental health of Canadians that are really taking a toll with all of this.”

Read more: Majority of Canadians polled want U.S. border closed until end of 2020: Ipsos

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It could be a while before they’re able to reunite; Moshe Lander, an economics professor at Concordia University, says the Canada-U.S. border could remain closed for some time.

“I actually think the border will remain closed until the end of this year, maybe even extended into next year,” Lander told Global News.

“There’s no reason at this point to open the border from a health standpoint. The Americans don’t seem to have this under control, we’re starting to look like we may not have it completely under control either.”

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Will interprovincial travel restrictions return?

Lander says without rapid testing or the ability to accurately track everyone who crosses the border, there likely won’t be many exceptions.

“If you had the ability to actually track people when they come into the country, if you had the ability to actually enforce that two week quarantine (and if) they could come with proper documentation that (they’ve) been tested already and we know you’re clean up to a certain point, then letting them in isn’t problematic,” he said.

“It’s the fact that we can’t test them right away and give them a result right away on what their status is, and once they’re into the country we don’t have (the ability) to track them.”

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