Many Maritimers relieved by decision to keep Canada-U.S. border closed for another month
ST. STEPHEN, N.B. -- The Canada-U.S. border remains closed, and that is not going to change anytime soon.
Ottawa and Washington have agreed to restrict border crossings for at least another month, until Aug. 21. Some predict it will be a lot longer before cross-border travel returns to normal.
The border in St. Stephen, N.B., would ordinarily be busy during what would be the height of tourism season.
"It really is strange not to see that traffic, and that normally is just crazy traffic right now" said St. Stephen Mayor Allan MacEachern.
The border has been closed to non-essential travel since mid-March, and MacEachern is not surprised that Ottawa and Washington have extended the closure again.
He says the federal government is getting a clear message.
"They're getting pressure from the citizens, and it's a pretty strong opinion of the citizens that they don't want that opened up," he said.
And not just ordinary citizens -- the medical community in the Maritimes is also watching a rapidly deteriorating situation in many states south of the border.
"For the foreseeable future, we need to keep that border closed. There's just such a huge number of cases in the States now," said Doug Harper. "We're seen unprecedented numbers every day."
At his pet shop in St. Stephen, Doug Harper is also seeing unprecedented numbers.
"About 150 more customers in through my door that have become loyal customers now," he said.
With the border closed, Harper is seeing local residents spending more of their money on the Canadian side.
He says any decision to reopen the border needs to be based on public health.
"Yeah, it's a good idea to stay closed in my opinion," he said.
For now, virtually all of the licence plates in communities like St. Stephen are New Brunswick plates.
While the Canada-U.S. border will be closed for at least another month, many people in the border community expect it to be closed through the rest of the summer, and maybe beyond.
In the meantime, people in the tourism industry hope to eventually see some benefit from the Atlantic bubble.