It’s been one year since international border restrictions came into effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The closure was put in place to keep the novel coronavirus out, but it also kept couples who live on either side of the border separated.
Canadian Jeremy Ernst and his American husband Michael Laducer spent the first few years of their relationship making weekend trips to visit each other.
When the border closures came into effect, they waited months until they could be reunited again and now they’re hoping things will ease up soon.
“You only have so much vacation time,” Ernst said.
Laducer echoed the sentiment.
The couple wishes there was more clarity from the federal government around when border restrictions would ease now that more people are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Come up with a system and say ‘OK, if you’ve been vaccinated, you can cross, if you have a test you can cross,'” Ernst said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has waved off suggestions the Canada-U.S border will open any time soon. Last week he said people will have to remain patient.
Ernst and Laducer got married during the pandemic on Sept. 29 — something they always knew would happen but was pushed forward so they could be reunited and have an easier time crossing the border.
“I can’t become an American citizen immediately, he can’t become a Canadian citizen immediately. So it’s like we understood those issues were there before but we can’t even visit each other for a weekend like we’ve done through our whole relationship the past 4.5 years,” Ernst said.
“It’s been a long process, a lot of sad moments. Just wanting to be there for your partner isn’t non-essential to me.”
Laducer recently lost both of his parents to COVID-19 in North Dakota. His 60-year-old father passed away on Christmas Day and his mother passed away shortly after.
“Jeremy and I got to video-call him and he couldn’t catch his breath, he just couldn’t do it, it was a short conversation and it was the last time we talked to him,” Laducer said.
The couple hopes to be reunited again next in Winnipeg in June but is hopeful there will be easier travel rules on the horizon for those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.