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Follow Canada’s lead on vaccine rule, Maine businesses tell U.S.

Canadians crossing the border into the U.S. by land still need to verbally confirm their vaccination status and produce proof of vaccination if requested.

Canadians crossing the border into the U.S. by land still need to verbally confirm their vaccination status and produce proof of vaccination if requested.

Photo: Associated Press / Robert F. Bukaty

RCI

'It would just be fair' for restrictions to be removed on both sides, says one business advocate

American travellers can freely cross Canada's border without having to make sure they're carrying proof of vaccination — but Canadians entering the United States do not yet have the same experience.

Canada dropped all COVID-19 related travel restrictions — including proof of vaccination — on Oct. 1. 

However, an Oct. 4 update published by the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Canada was a reminder foreign travellers must still be fully vaccinated to fly, ferry or drive into the country. 

According to a fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, those without U.S. citizenship crossing a border will still be asked to verbally confirm they are fully vaccinated and may have to provide proof they received a jab approved by the Centers for Disease Control. 

Some businesses near the border in Maine say they are hoping the U.S. government will follow Canada and remove all travel restrictions for those entering the country, particularly from nearby communities in New Brunswick. 

It would just be fair, right? said Alf Anderson, executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce. 

One side treating the other the same way. I think [that] would be terrific.

When reached for comment, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security directed CBC's questions about restrictions to the CDC, which did not respond prior to publication. 

Any challenges have an impact: business group

As the difference in restrictions has only been in effect for a few days, Anderson said he doesn't have any evidence yet that it's making a significant difference. 

But just know that any challenges or hurdles to completing a trip, or booking a visit, have got to have some impact.

Sue Provencher, the manager at C&E Feeds in Calais, Maine, said she and other staff had been helping travellers crossing from the U.S. into Canada navigate the ArriveCAN app, which is no longer mandatory for travel. 

She said she's pleased to with Canada's decision.

I'm hoping that everything will go away on both sides. And we can return back to normal, because the small border towns depend on each other, Provencher said. 

Small border towns depend on each other.- Sue Provencher

It makes it much easier for older senior citizens to come back and forth, and come across. Business already started to pick up. And hopefully that will continue.

She added that businesses near the border may be losing out on business from unvaccinated Canadians.

There's a lot of people that didn't get vaccinated … so I think it would still make a great impact to the economy if they got rid of [the vaccination requirement].

Despite the differences in regulation, Anderson is optimistic. 

We love Canadian visitors, because there's such a long history of Canadian travellers coming to spend time in Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park … hopefully this won't present such a challenge that they won't be able to come visit.

Lane Harrison (new window) · CBC News

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