‘It’s going to impact us a lot’: Vancouver Island businesses feel big hit from U.S. border closure 

'It's going to impact us a lot': Vancouver Island businesses feel big hit from U.S. border closure 
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The streets of Chemainus were alive with music Friday, but the sidewalks were quiet.

The same day, Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced that the US Canadian border will remain closed until at least July 21.

Musician John Forrest said his tourism-reliant community is feeling it.

“Especially this town because tourism is its main industry. Gonna feel the impact yeah,” said musician and busker John Forrest.

Nuria Sanchez is the owner of Chemainus antique shop Vintiquity and said she had been hoping the border would be re-opened this month.

“It’s going to impact us a lot,” said Sanchez, referring to the latest extension.

“We get a lot of tourists from the United States and a lot of them actually come in their sailboats and then they stay here and they shop our shops,” she said.

Mark Wimmer travelled over from Vancouver to Chemainus after BC entered Step 2 of re-opening this week and although travel within the province has returned, he is really looking forward to the international border reopening so he can finally visit his second home in California.

“You’re looking at somebody who has a home in the United States and I haven’t been there in 16 months. Would I like to go? Yes. But it is what it is. At least I get to come and visit places like this,” said Vancouver resident Mark Wimmer.

“It’ll be a good thing to have it back open for sure,” said Forrest.

The Prime Minister has previously said that it would take 75 per cent of Canadians being vaccinated before restrictions would be lifted.

Some hope is on the horizon, however, as vaccinations ramp up, and coming up on Monday, the Canadian Government is expected to make an announcement about plans to let fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents enter the U.S. — offering some optimism that there may still be a summer tourism season here.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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