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Step in the right direction for Manitoba tourism industry as U.S. border reopens

Starting Monday, fully vaccinated United States travellers can cross the border into Canada after nearly a year of it being closed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

Starting Monday, fully vaccinated United States travellers can cross the border into Canada after nearly a year of it being closed.

This is a step in the right direction for Manitoba businesses that relied heavily on U.S. visitors, such as hotels and lodging.

In order for U.S. visitors to enter Canada, they must produce a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before entry.

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Birdtail Waterfowl Lodge owner Paul Conchatre told Global News that this could be a hurdle for travellers.

“I’ve heard a lot of states are having a hard time getting the results on the PCR test. Sometimes it’s taking five to six days so they can’t even get it within the 72 hours.”

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Conchatre says his business is made up of 95 per cent American tourism and opening the borders is the right thing to do as things need to get back to where they once were.

“At the end of the day, if our population is getting to that vaccinated rate where people can travel, you know, it’s the right thing to do, it is the logical thing to do because we do have to get back to where we were. That’s what we need.”

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However, industry experts say the move is not the flip of a switch that will alleviate their concerns for good, especially with the public health orders still in effect.

“We can’t have an event at more than 50 per cent capacity, we can’t have dance floors open, so, you know, there’s still challenges but we’re moving forward,” said Manitoba Hotel Association president Scott Jocelyn.

Jocelyn says the true results from the border reopening won’t be seen for a few weeks yet but visitors may have trouble getting a room at a hotel in Winnipeg and Brandon due to the 3,000 wildfire evacuees that are currently staying in them.

Although Canada is welcoming back vaccinated U.S. visitors, the White House said it is still looking into whether or not to allow vaccinated visitors and it remains unclear if that will include Canadian travellers.

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Click to play video: 'Canadian border reopens to vaccinated Americans'
Canadian border reopens to vaccinated Americans

 

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