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U.S. border opens to fully vaccinated Canadians, new requirements worry businesses

Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 6:54 PM CST
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INTERNATIONAL FALLS, MN. (CBS 3 Duluth) - On Monday, the U.S-Canada border opened to fully vaccinated Canadians for non-essential travel, who must have a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before return.

RELATED: Walz proclaims Nov. 8 “Canadian Travelers Day” in Minnesota

Tricia Heibel, President of the Chamber of Commerce in International Falls, said COVID-19 tests can be up to $160 (U.S currency).

“Our testing location is run by a private company and so it costs the same for Americans and Canadians today to get that PCR test in order to get into Canada,” Heibel said.

The same tests for Canadians are not covered by U.S. health insurance.

A potential problem for business owner, Nancy Imhof, of Mason’s on Main.

Imhof said she usually sees many Canadian customers visit for a day or two, but expensive COVID tests could deter people from their usual day trips.

“If they loosen up a little bit down the road it’d be great between now and Christmas if they did that we’d see more, right now I just think it’s an awful long procedure for those people just to come for a day shopping,” Imhof said.

Heibel said 30% of International Falls’ retail profit comes from Canadian shoppers, so more travel requirements could mean a rough hit for local businesses.

Imhof added she’s skeptical many will visit soon but hopes to see changes soon.

“I just like to see it go back to whatever normal is you know everything was so smooth that was and of course we went over there too but more so they came over here,” Imhof said.

Other businesses said that even with the opening day of the border for more visitors, the requirements to return may be too much for some, making Monday’s opening not as significant.

The Chamber of Commerce said they are considering helping alleviate the financial burden of getting a COVID-19 test, by possibly subsidizing or contributing towards people’s tests during special holiday weekends.

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