Eligible British Columbians can now take short shopping trips to the United States and return home without having to take a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test, according to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA).
In a Wednesday news release, CBSA said testing will only be waived for fully vaccinated B.C. residents who have to travel to the U.S. to access or buy goods and who are only out of Canada for less than 24 hours.
The exemption also applies to a person with a contraindication to vaccination and unvaccinated children under 12 years of age entering B.C. with one of their fully vaccinated parents, step-parents, guardians or tutors.
Anyone who makes social visits or attends events or functions while in the U.S. is not exempt.
The decision comes in the wake of mid-November flooding that hampered supply chains and washed out highways in British Columbia.
Brian Calder, president of the Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the news.
The town depends on Canadian dollars to keep its economy afloat, and 75 per cent of properties on the peninsula are Canadian-owned.
“It’s a blessing for our community,” said Calder, adding Point Roberts residents are very COVID-aware.
“We’re a very, very safe community and we are responsible,” he said.
The federal government is also allowing fully vaccinated people entering Canada from the remote communities of Hyder, Alaska, and Point Roberts, Wash., to come into the country without doing a COVID-19 molecular test.
This exemption also extends to “habitual residents” of Point Roberts who enter Canada to access the mainland United States or to return to their place of residence, as well as habitual residents of Hyder and Point Roberts entering Canada “to carry out everyday functions within neighbouring communities of their community.”
Both communities are on the border of British Columbia and residents often socialize and conduct business on both sides. In the case of Hyder, students in this Alaskan community attend school in Stewart, B.C.