- In a little hamlet in southern New Brunswick, it’s not uncommon to see as many foreign licence plates as local ones — or it wasn’t when COVID-19 closed the Canada-US border.
- This April, New Brunswick withdrew its COVID-19 restrictions, and federal testing requirements for all visitors to Canada were eased.
- The Trudeau administration is facing rising pressure to suspend or scrap the ArriveCAN app, particularly as the busy summer travel season approaches.
It’s not unusual to see as many foreign license plates as local ones in a small town in southern New Brunswick — or it wasn’t before COVID-19 slammed the Canada-US border shut.
Residents of St. Stephen were accustomed to seeing people from Calais, Maine, cross the street or cross into that town to do some shopping.
Ada Dempsey’s café, Something’s Brewing, was just a block from the border crossing into Maine, and she used to serve Americans regularly before the pandemic.
“I even had a female from Calais who would come here in her jammies in the morning to have her coffee,” Dempsey recalls.
“That was before the pandemic,” says the narrator.
Dempsey claims that her café closed in March 2020 and that when it reopened the following summer, she only saw locals.
New Brunswick lifted its COVID-19 limitations this spring, and federal testing requirements for everyone entering Canada have been relaxed. That, she claims, appears to have helped in some way.
“I’ve noticed more Americans coming through in the last several weeks, the last week or so,” Dempsey says.
She claims that not everyone has returned — the child in the pyjamas, for example, is still in the United States, according to Dempsey — and that there is still one major hurdle preventing people from crossing the bridge.
“Some clients have told us it’s because of the ArriveCAN app,” Dempsey says.
Despite the relaxation of COVID-19 testing procedures at land crossings and, more recently, for air travelers, anybody entering Canada must use the federal government’s ArriveCAN smartphone app to track their journey.
This includes inputting information about when and where they’ll be crossing, as well as their intended destination.
It’s even required for small journeys to get a cup of coffee or for Canadian citizens returning from the United States, and the lengthy process is enough to deter some people from visiting.
Carol Lynn Gamblin, a resident of St. Stephen, adds, “I haven’t been across in months.”
She used to crossover a couple of times a week — sometimes three times a day — but hasn’t found the energy to fiddle with the ArriveCAN app.
“Every week, I tell myself this is the week,” Gamblin adds, “but it’s just one of those things, that little more step.”
“I consider it, and then I consider next week.”
The Trudeau government is under mounting pressure to suspend or eliminate the ArriveCAN app, especially as the busy summer travel season approaches.
Earlier this week, local politicians and tourist stakeholders banded together to demand that the app be removed.
However, there’s no news on when — or even if — that will happen.
Omar Alghabra, the Federal Transport Minister, stated on Wednesday that ArriveCAN is still important.
“ArriveCAN is a vital tool that will continue to be useful in preserving the health and safety of Canadians and visitors,” he said.
Meetings are taking place, according to Alghabra, to figure out how the process may be improved.
Dempsey doesn’t feel compelled to get rid of the app at Something’s Brewing.
“I’m fine with anything that keeps us safe,” she says.
She’s hoping that this summer will be busier than the previous two.
Source: Global News
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