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Canada Long wait times at Coutts border crossing as COVID-19 travel restrictions set in

07:25  22 march  2020
07:25  22 march  2020 Source:   globalnews.ca

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Travel exemptions also include international students who already held a study permit or had been approved for one when travel restrictions kicked The border to the U.S. closed at midnight, and as part of measures to stop the spread of COVID - 19 , the government also announced Friday that asylum

Entry restrictions A temporary travel restriction is in place until 15 April 2020 for travel from any country outside the EU to the following countries Hold a valid Health certificate, along with a negative COVID - 19 laboratory result issued within 48 hours of flight departure (applicable to all nationalities) at

a truck that has a sign on the side of a road: Temporary restrictions banning people from travelling between the Canadian and American border for non-essential reasons went into effect late on March 20, 2020. © Global News Temporary restrictions banning people from travelling between the Canadian and American border for non-essential reasons went into effect late on March 20, 2020.

Temporary restrictions on non-essential travel between Canada and the U.S. have resulted in longer than usual wait times at border crossings — and snowbirds are scrambling to get back home.

READ MORE: COVID-19 cases in Alberta now at 226; 16 suspected to be community transmission

Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump made the announcement on Wednesday. The regulations came into effect late Friday night.

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Canada, which closed its borders to most foreign nationals, agreed with the United States this week A notice from the U.S. Homeland Security Department (DHS) said restrictions will begin at 11:59 Canada has 925 cases of the COVID - 19 respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, and 12 deaths.

The average waiting time is reportedly from six to 10 hours. Crowds waiting in a very long lines in close quarters with thousands of people to clear US Customs' useless enhanced # COVID 19 screening measures.pic.twitter.com/fyr8fyT0vq.

According to Trudeau, the restrictions have been implemented to follow public health advice.

Both leaders said they mutually made the decision in order to decrease the spread of COVID-19 as the numbers of those affected continue to rise.

On Saturday afternoon, residents at the largest border crossing in Alberta said they haven't seen the Coutts border crossing this busy in a while.

A lineup of commercial vehicles could be seen on the Canadian side of the border.

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The Canada Border Services Agency released a statement to Global News, saying: "With more Canadians heeding advice to return to Canada sooner than planned and with added CBSA measures in place at the border, airports included, travelers may experience longer border wait times.

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The border restrictions , which kick in at midnight, have not only upended travel plans, but also introduced a degree of confusion and angst into closely intertwined border communities. Some 400,000 people and more than .6 billion in goods traverse the U.S.-Canada border each day.

"CBSA is working closely with [Public Health Agency of Canada] officials to expedite processing while ensuring the health and safety of travellers and our employees."

The CBSA said that Canadians still waiting to get back into Canada will be allowed in.

The border remains open for essential travel, which includes the transportation of goods and travel for work, to not hamper trade and the supply chains between the two countries.

The travel restrictions only apply to those seeking to leave their home countries for tourism and recreational reasons, according to the federal government.

The closure will also apply to irregular migrants crossing the border on foot at informal crossings, Trudeau said Friday, due to concern over screening them for COVID-19.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Trudeau says irregular migrants will be turned away at Canada-U.S. border

Local residents near the Coutts border said their businesses are already being affected negatively by the pandemic.

Canada, U.S. preparing to close border to non-essential travel

  Canada, U.S. preparing to close border to non-essential travel Multiple sources tell CBC News that Canada and the United States are in the advanced stages of a deal to close the border to non-essential travel.Multiple sources with direct knowledge of the talks say the details are still being worked out, and could be announced as early as Wednesday.

Travelers were reporting long lines and confusion at U.S. airports on Saturday as the president’s new European travel restrictions went into effect. Since January, officers from Customs and Border Protection have been on heightened alert for travelers The Georgia primary will now be held May 19 .

The travel restrictions also generally exclude the immediate families (spouses, parents and siblings) of Last week, many of the major airlines in the United States informed travelers that they could expect longer wait times to speak to a customer service agent. or confirmed cases of Covid - 19 ; or

"For us, it is completely uncertain. We don't pay into Employment Insurance as business owners, so we can't collect EI," said Laura Michaelis, part owner of the Sandstone Eatery and Lounge in Milk Rover, Alta.

"We have no other means of income to support our family, so I don't know."

Michaelis said they closed down the dining room to do their part to decrease the spread of the virus and are encouraging people to practise social distancing.

However, they are worried about their finances since spring and summer are when they make the bulk of their annual profit.

"You don't make as [many] tips on the delivery and take-out side of things," said Christa Ronka, a server at the restaurant.

"The traffic has slowed down a lot, so you're not seeing as many people in general and because of that, we've had to cut our hours back. That's affecting my base pay."

Business owners and workers near the Coutts border are left wondering how they will survive these unprecedented times as they try to stay afloat in an uncertain economy.

The temporary restrictions on non-essential travel will be in place until at least April 20.

– With files from The Canadian Press, Andrew Russell and Rachael D’Amore, Eric Stober

Canada, U.S. border temporarily closing to non-essential traffic to slow COVID-19 .
Canada and the United States have agreed to restrict non-essential travel across the border as both countries try to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus — but key supplies will still flow between the two nations. U.S. President Donald Trump first tweeted the news Wednesday morning. Soon afterward, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a news conference to announce that travellers will no longer be able to cross the border for recreational and tourism purposes.

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