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Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, Saturday, March 14, 2020.
Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, Saturday, March 14, 2020. (Junfu Han, Detroit Free Press/TNS)

(Tribune News Service) — The number of non-commercial travelers crossing from the U.S. into Canada more than doubled in the first week after Canada opened its land borders and began allowing vaccinated Americans to enter for non-essential reasons earlier this month.

The rate for American travelers was even higher in the Pacific region, which includes Whatcom County's five border crossings into British Columbia, according to new Canadian Border Services data released Tuesday, Aug. 24.

But all travel numbers remained well below pre-pandemic levels.

After nearly 17 months of restricting travel deemed non-essential in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada began reopening the border, allowing Americans who are fully vaccinated and meet other requirements for entry to begin crossing the border for purposes, such as tourism, shopping and to see family and friends.

Between Aug. 9 and Aug. 15 there were a total of 332,581 highway travelers into Canada, the Canadian Border Services Agency reported. Of those, nearly two-thirds (218,732 travelers) were for non-commercial purposes.

A week earlier (Aug. 2-8), only 209,643 total border crossings and 103,344 non-commercial crossings were recorded by Canada Border Services Agency, meaning there was a 112% increase in non-commercial crossings in the first week after the border was reopened.

In the Pacific Region, 32,296 foreign nationals crossed into Canada Aug. 9-15, which was a 168% increase over the 12,038 foreign national travelers the week before.

But as impressive as that number is, it is still only about a quarter of the 126,862 foreign national travelers to cross into Canada through the Pacific Region during the equivalent week in 2019.

Nationally, the 218,732 non-commercial travelers were only about 15% of the 1.4 million that crossed during an equivalent week in 2019.

Though vaccinated Americans are allowed to cross into Canada, the U.S. has not reciprocated and opened its border for non-essential purposes. The U.S. announced Friday, Aug. 21, that it was extending its closure another month until at least Sept. 21.

Marine opening

The Canada Border Services Agency on Tuesday also reported that it is resuming service at various small marine reporting sites, airports and ferry terminals in accordance with the country's new public health measures that allow vaccinated Americans to cross into Canada.

As of Tuesday, the agency reported it opened British Columbia ferry terminals at the Washington State Ferry Terminal, as well as the Alaska State Ferry Terminal, Belleville Terminal and Blackball terminal.

As with crossing by land, vaccinated Americans must meet all requirements for entry into Canada through marine crossings and travelers must submit mandatory information, including digital proof of their vaccination, through the ArriveCAN app.

(c)2021 The Bellingham Herald (Bellingham, Wash.)

Visit The Bellingham Herald (Bellingham, Wash.) at www.bellinghamherald.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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