Relaxed travel restrictions for remote communities along the Canada-U.S. Border

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The federal government eased travel restrictions, allowing residents of remote communities along the Canada-U.S. Border to access basic necessities – including food and medical services – and allowing cross-border students to attend the ‘school.The communities of Stewart, British Columbia, with a population of approximately 400, and Hyder, Alaska, with a population of 63, are approximately two miles apart.

Residents and local politicians have been calling for the border to be reopened since travel restrictions went into effect on March 21 in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair gave them the news they were waiting to hear on Friday.

Under the new adjusted rules, the declaration reads: “Residents of Campobello Island, New Brunswick; of Stewart, British Columbia; from Northwest Angle, Minnesota; and Hyder, Alaska, will be exempt from the mandatory 14-day quarantine only to access basic necessities (eg, food, medical services) of the nearest Canadian or American community.

The communities of Stewart, British Columbia, and Hyder, Alaska, are about three kilometers apart. (CBC)

Blair noted that the changes, which take effect on Saturday, will allow students (and a driver) to cross the border to school and will also allow children who are part of a shared custody arrangement to be exempt from the quarantine period, as well as a parent.

“The limited and practical changes will continue to protect the health and safety of Canadians while removing hardship for children and residents of remote communities affected by border restrictions.” “

Relief in communities

The residents of Hyder and Stewart have been calling for changes to travel restrictions for months.

Hyder Community Association president Wes Loe said people in the community were relieved, especially children who can now see their friends and go to school.

“Stewart and Hyder is like a community with a border between the two. We celebrate weddings. We celebrate births. It’s a community, then all of a sudden seven and a half months ago they put a wall up there. ”

Loe said the rule change was what residents of remote communities needed.

“It’s a good feeling in the community. It is a positive feeling. “

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