Sports and family: Southwestern Ontarians ready for U.S. border reopening

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: U.S. opening land border to fully-vaccinated Canadians on Monday'
COVID-19: U.S. opening land border to fully-vaccinated Canadians on Monday
WATCH: COVID-19 - U.S. opening land border to fully-vaccinated Canadians on Monday – Nov 5, 2021

From football games to long-awaited family reunions, Canadians being able to drive across the U.S. border to visit neighbours down south is a welcome change.

On Monday, Nov. 8, the Canada-U.S. land border is officially open to fully vaccinated travellers. The change comes after Canada reopened its land border to fully vaccinated Americans on Aug. 9, 2021.

In mid-October, U.S. government officials announced plans to reopen the border after the two countries opted to close the border to non-essential travel at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

Since then people have still been able to cross the border via air but at a greater expense, so the option to be able to drive across is a welcome change for fully vaccinated Canadians.

Story continues below advertisement

“I think it is absolutely welcome, I have been looking forward to this for months,” said Shane Rodrigues.

Rodrigues said throughout the year he has made and cancelled multiple plans in anticipation of the border reopening.

“When the announcement was made I immediately made plans to go to Steelers game at the end of November and I am beyond excited to go.”

But the reopening is not without its restrictions. Although you do not need a COVID-19 test to enter the U.S., Canada still requires travellers returning to the country to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours upon returning.

Rodrigues said he and his wife will only be gone for a night so they will need to get tested in Canada before they leave in order to get the results in time to return for work. Rodrigues says the way the system is set up makes little sense and seems like an unnecessary expense.

This test can come at a high cost, ranging from $150 to $200, and is something Steve Rankin says makes a difference for those making the decision to travel stateside.

“I think until Canada waves the PCR test like the United States has, I don’t see a lot of people doing it, that’s still a big question from myself in travelling to sporting events — is it worth the $200?” Rankin said.

Story continues below advertisement

Since the announcement, Rankin says he already has two trips planned states-side: one to go to a sporting event and the second to fly out of Detroit.

Before COVID-19, Rankin would make regular trips south of the border to go to baseball games.

Rankin said he is happy to be able to drive across again because it will help keep costs lower as opposed to flying, despite the need for a test.

The cost has been one of the factors making it harder for Jaslyn Declercq to see her partner.

Declercq said her daughter is about to be three years old and in the last year and a half, her partner has only been able to see them in person five times.

“My fiancé has had to watch our daughter grow from a small toddler to a full-out pre-schooler over video calls.”

The couple were able to see each other once travel was open to family members, but Declercq said they spent the whole time quarantining before her partner’s two weeks of vacation ended.

He works in manufacturing in the U.S. while Declercq works in a long-term care home in the southwest region.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s a relief knowing we can easily get in the car and go and see him, there is no more waiting or date to cross, but what happens now is it still not going to be like we had before when we could see him every weekend.”

Because of current rules, every trip they make to the U.S. means her daughter can’t go to daycare for two weeks when they return, which creates a problem for Declercq who has to go to work.

Despite the changes, Declercq said the announcement of the reopening was welcome news.

“I cried. I was working the night shift and when I got out to my car, I opened it up and immediately started crying because we had been waiting for 20 months at that point to have some sort of date for our lives to restart and move forward.”

Sponsored content