EUREKA — It was a momentous day Monday for many border towns across the state of Montana as Canada officially opened their border for non-essential travel for the first time since March of 2020.
A steady stream of cars trickled up to the border crossing at the Port of Roosville just North of Eureka Monday morning for the first time in more than 16 months.
All American citizens can now travel into Canada for non-essential travel if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days before entering the country.
Fully vaccinated travelers will be exempt from quarantine once entering Canada, however, Canadians are still prohibited from driving across the border into the U.S. for non-essential travel until at least August 21.
First and Last Chance Bar and Duty-Free Store Manager Sheryl Hostutler said her business won’t see any kind of sudden uptick in customers until both borders are open for non-essential travel.
“I don’t see it to be getting to near normal until next summer, at all,” Hostutler tells MTN News.
She said the duty-free business has been non-existent since the beginning of the pandemic.
“Duty-free went to almost zero because you can’t cross the border, and it’s summertime, this is our busy time to get us through the winter and the last two summers absolutely no traffic,” said Hostutler.
She added support from residents at the bar is the only reason the business has been able to stay open the last 16 months. “Thank God for our locals, they really supported us very well, they’re awesome,” said Hostutler.
Those entering Canada for non-essential travel will need to show proof of vaccination. People who try to falsify documentation could be fined or denied entry into Canada at a future date.
MTN News reached out to our political leaders to get their take on the partial opening of the northern border.
US Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) released the following statement to MTN News.
“Canada is our number one trading partner, and Montanans depend on free-flowing trade and travel to create good-paying jobs and grow our small businesses. I’m going to keep pushing hard to get the border open.”
Republican US Senator Steve Daines told MTN it's great to see Canada open their side of the border to vaccinated Americans, but urged the Biden Administration to do the same saying quote:
"The Senator has continuously urged President Biden to do what’s right and open the northern border for Montana families, workers and small businesses."
Montana Governor Greg Gianforte told MTN News the he has repeatedly urged the President to fully open the border in letters with other governors.
Hardworking Montanans continue to pay the price for the Biden administration’s decision to keep the northern border closed. As I’ve repeatedly urged the President and his administration, it’s past time the border is reopened safely and fully for trade and travel.”