Love in the time of COVID-19: Cross-border couples eager to reunite after months apart
ST. STEPHEN, N.B. -- The extension of the Canada-U.S. border closure means at least another month until cross-border couples who don't fall under the immediate family category are able to reunite.
Calais, Maine is so close to St. Stephen that you can see it from the edge of the St. Croix River.
But, for someone like Ann Billingsley, it might as well be half a world away.
"I have a boyfriend who lives in Calais and he's literally two miles away from my house, so it's been difficult," Billingsley said. "In an instant, my entire support network was gone."
The border will continue to be closed to all non-essential or "discretionary" travel for at least another month.
Although cross-border families can now reunite under a new exemption, those in relationships who don't meet the requirements are left waiting and wondering.
Sarah Brewer, also of St. Stephen, hasn't seen her boyfriend who lives in Machias, Maine, since mid-March.
"Three weeks into the border being closed I guess we met," Brewer said. "He went to the wharf in Calais and I went to the wharf in St. Stephen and we did wave to each other across the water."
Shawna Curran and her American fiance have been together for over two-and-a-half years.
"It's just heartbreaking to watch the children miss out on so much from somebody that's a big part of their lives," said Curran.
As of June 9, immediate family members including spouses and common-law partners can now enter Canada under a series of stipulations.
Brewer says, as long as two people can prove they're in a relationship, they should be able to cross.
"If people need to sign a legal document stating that they're in a relationship, 100 per cent of the people would be willing to do that if that meant that they got to spend time with their loved ones," she said.