For the first time in nearly 20 months, the U.S. land border has reopened to non-essential travel with Canada, but residents in the border town of St. Stephen, N.B., aren’t rushing to cross just yet.
As of Monday, fully-vaccinated Canadians can make the trip across the border to U.S. by land — something that hasn’t been possible for leisure travel since March 2020.
However, a negative COVID-19 test is required to enter Canada within 72 hours prior to crossing, for people aged five and older.
A PCR test can cost between $150 to $300.
“So for a family of four, between the ages of 8 and 41… it’s going to cost us roughly $800 to $1,000,” said St. Stephen resident Barb Rideout.
Prior to the pandemic, residents of St. Stephen would cross the international border often. Now, some aren’t even thinking about a trip to America.
“I think the excitement went away as soon as they talked about the cost of coming back,” said resident Cecil Nelson.
Children under the age of 12, who are ineligible for the vaccine at this point, will not be able to attend school or large gatherings 14 days after their return, according to guidelines posted on the website of the government of Canada. They must also limit contact with others.
St. Stephen’s deputy mayor, Ghislaine Wheaton, said the border reopening with conditions is a good start, but would welcome a reduction in testing costs.
“A lot of the people here, we just go run to Walmart to get gas over the river and, I mean, I don’t think we’re ready for that at this point,” Wheaton said.
“So I think we need to hold off and see how things roll out before we start changing things around.”