The North Country is at risk of losing out on the fall tourist season from Canadian visitors if the border isn't fully reopened in the coming weeks, Democratic state Assemblyman Billy Jones on Thursday said.
The U.S.-Canadian border closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic was extended to at least Sept. 21 amid bipartisan calls in New York for the restirctions to ease. Jones is worried businesses will continue to be harmed by the lack of traffic between the two countries.
“The fall tourist season is approaching, and yet Canadians still are not able to cross the United States-Canada border unless they have the money to fly here,” Jones said. “Enough is enough! It has been over 16 months since the border closed, and the federal government must make this a priority to not only help struggling local businesses but to reunite families that continue to be separated due to these restrictions."
Jones is the co-chairman of the Canada-U.S. Relations Committee Assembly, and his counterpart on the panel, Member of the National Assembly of Quebec Guy Ouellette, also backed a reopening of the border.
“Since our nomination on both sides of the border, Assemblyman Jones and I worked hand in hand to promote Canada-US interests and closely New-York-Quebec economies,” said Ouellette. “The faster borders are freely reopened, the faster we will hopefully return to a normal life. Those are the main reasons the resolution was adopted unanimously. We both hope to meet each other in person soon after the pandemic to continue working together for our citizens interests.”
Neverthless, the pandemic has dragged on, and the uncertainty by the spread of the delta variant this summer, which has led to a spike in hospitalizations and cases, has led to the return of some public health rules in gathering spaces in New York.