Canada Reopens To Travelers, But With U.S. Still Closed, Border Town Roads, Businesses Remain Quiet
After 17 months of being closed to all but essential travelers, today marked the first day Americans could once again drive into Canada.
Visitors must show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours.
In the Franklin County border town of Richford, population 1,600, roads remained fairly quiet Monday.
At Wetherby's Quick Stop, a convenience store and gas station at the center of town, a few people stopped in who hadn't been there since the beginning of the pandemic, happy to be back.
Co-owners John and Mary Wetherby say about half their business used to come from Canadian customers. When the border initially closed in March 2020 due to the spread of the coronavirus, and those customers could no longer buy milk and gas at Wetherby's, it had "a big impact."
"It was very nerve-wracking," Mary said. "But ... the community has maintained us very well, we're very fortunate."
The U.S. border isn't scheduled to reopen to Canadian travelers until at least Aug. 21. That'll be three days after Scott Boyce plans to open a new downtown restaurant, Thirsty Burger.
"We held off here, we wanted to start this project two years ago, and not knowing what the future was going to bring," Boyce said. "I guess we didn't realize how much traffic that we actually got until it's gone."
Boyce said the Richford community needs the U.S. border reopened just as badly as the Canadian border.
Vermont's Congressional delegation and Gov. Phil Scott have lobbied the Biden administration to allow nonessential travel between Canada and the U.S. once again.