Few Americans spotted crossing into Osoyoos on 1st day of land border reopening | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Few Americans spotted crossing into Osoyoos on 1st day of land border reopening

Image Credit: PEXELS
August 09, 2021 - 7:00 PM

The reopening of the US border means Americans are allowed again into Canada, but southern visitors don’t seem to be pouring in through the Oroville-Osoyoos border crossing.

There was at least one American couple eager to visit the Great White North again, however.

“They were very excited – they said it took them 18 months to come back,” Jacintha Scheer said about tourists from Arizona who popped into the Osoyoos Visitor Centre this morning.

Today, Aug. 9, was the first day the border was open to the public since March 18, 2020. Americans can enter without having to quarantine for 14 days as long as they reside in the US, show proof of full vaccination, and waited at least 14 days to pass since their last dose and show proof of a negative COVID that's less than 72 hours old.

Canadians are still not allowed to enter the US for non-essential travel.

Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff, who lives close to the border, said she hadn't noticed any cars coming through as of the early this afternoon.

“Can’t say I’ve noticed anything,” she said.

Before COVID restrictions were in place, McKortoff noticed American visitors would typically drive to Osoyoos for lunch and some shopping before heading home the same day.

“We don’t have a lot of people coming across the border to stay here,” she said. “Out hotels aren’t usually filled with people from across the line.”

Many of the properties in Osoyoos are vacation homes, yet despite the close proximity to the US, McKortoff doesn’t know of any Americans who own property in town. She said most second-home owners tend to be from Calgary or the Lower Mainland.

Jamie Elder, owner of Unity Osoyoos, a downtown skate shop, said he has a good sense of where his customers are from.

“It’s really a minimal percentage that comes up from the States," he said.

And with so many B.C. residents prevented from travelling south for the past 17 months, Elder has been noticing plenty of new customers from around the province.

“The border closing was a benefit to the community in a lot of ways – it helped a large percentage of British Columbians discovered their own province again," Elder said.

He spoke with many visitors who only travelled to Osoyoos because their options were limited during COVID restrictions – but after experiencing the beaches and wineries and scenery – they now plan on returning more often.

“‘This town with great restaurants and beautiful accommodations,’ was a real nice regular comment we were getting,” he said.


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