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News Roundup: Starting Aug. 9, Fully Vaccinated Americans Can Travel To Canada

An orange background with the words vermont news round up, with a little green vermont logo over the "R"
Elodie Reed

Vermont reporters provide a roundup of top news takeaways about the reopening of the Canadian border and more for Tuesday, July 20.

Want VPR's daily news in podcast form? Get up to speed in under 15 minutes with The Frequency every weekday morning. How about an email newsletter? Add our daily email briefing to your morning routine.

As Vermont's pandemic state of emergency has ended and coronavirus restrictions lifted statewide, we will no longer be reporting daily case numbers at the top of this newsletter. Click here for the latest on new cases, and find the latest vaccination data online any time.

1. Canada will ease travel restrictions for fully vaccinated Americans Aug. 9

The Canadian border will soon be opening.

Fully vaccinated Americans will be allowed to cross the international line on Aug. 9, with proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.

Non essential travel has been banned for the past 16 months. Its one of the last pandemic restrictions affecting Vermonters to be lifted.

The canadian government said Monday vaccinated adults and children under the age of 12 who cannot yet get a vaccine will not have to quarantine for two weeks.

The White House has not yet announced a date for when Canadians may enter the U.S.

Hear more in today's episode of The Frequency.

Connor Cyrus

2. Amtrak trains resume service in Vermont

The first Amtrak trains carrying passengers started running in Vermont Monday, after a pause of almost a year and a half.

It was a day Chris McKinley has been looking forward to for a long time.

He’s the head caretaker at the Amtrak station in White River Junction.

"My big thing is working this station," he said. "It’s my dream job, so to speak."

McKinley said 60 people boarded the train heading south, towards Brattleboro.

Amtrak plans to extend its service north to Burlington, and eventually bring passengers to Montreal.

Lexi Krupp

More from VPR: Back On Track: Vt. Transportation Secretary On Amtrak Restart, And Future

3. Sen. Leahy hopes for bi-partisan support of $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill

Senator Patrick Leahy says he's hopeful that Senate Republican leaders will support a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill when it comes up for a vote later this week.

The funds would be used to repair bridges and roads, to upgrade water treatment facilities, and to expand broadband services throughout the country.

Leahy thinks there's a good possibility that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will sign on to the bipartisan package.

"Well, I think he understands that his state needs this work also — the country suffers if we can't sit down and say let's actually work these things out," Leahy said.

Senate Democratic leaders have scheduled a test vote on the legislation on Thursday.

Bob Kinzel

4. Upper Valley mourns renowned hot air balloonist

Upper Valley resident and renowned hot air balloonist Brian Boland died last week in a ballooning accident.

Whenever the weather was good, Brian Boland would fire up his hot air balloon at dawn. He spent thousands of hours in the air.

"Often when he wasn't too high up, I'd say, 'Hey, good morning!' And you know, he'd say, 'Hey, good morning!'" said Alexis Jetter, of Thetford Center.

Boland used to land his balloons in her field. She says he was a magical figure.

"He would throw down candy and stuffed animals for my kids, and they would just go running," she said.

Boland lived in Post Mills, where he owned the small airport. It was home to his collection of antiques and ephemera and a giant wooden sculpture of a dinosaur he called "the Vermont-asaurus."

He had a booming voice and eyes that sparkled when he took off his aviator's goggles.

Dave Celone was Boland's neighbor. He says being around him was uplifting.

"Which was not a pun. The balloons he flew were a part of his personality ... all things rising — that was what his personality was like," Celone said.

Brian Boland died last Thursday. He was 72.

Anna Van Dine

Abagael Giles compiled and edited this post.

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