Melanie Francis married an American during the pandemic and now, with the news that the United States plans to reopen its land border to fully vaccinated Canadians next month, she is eager to make up for lost time.
The 26-year-old, who lives in the Niagara region, said she was very excited to see her daughter run and play with her new stepdad.
“I hate the time my husband spent growing up and watching her,” Francis said.
“There are so many links they missed so it’s just a relief now that [we’re] able to cross quite easily. “
Canadians with two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to cross the United States by land and ferry starting early next month.
The American authorities announced Tuesday evening their intention to reopen the crossings with Mexico and Canada. The border had been blocked for non-essential travelers since the early days of the pandemic in March of last year.
Some details are still being worked out, including an exact reopening date and the type of documentation that will be accepted as proof of vaccine status.
Canadians will be asked about their vaccination status at the border, but proof of vaccination will only be required if the traveler is sent for secondary screening, according to US government officials.
If a traveler to the United States is fully vaccinated, they will not be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test.
The mayor of Niagara Falls “delighted”
Jim Diodati, mayor of Niagara Falls, Ont., Said he has been in contact with other border mayors and U.S. officials throughout the pandemic and, when news broke that Canadians will soon be allowed to Entering the United States at land and ferry crossings, he and those contacts immediately began texting and calling each other.
“We are delighted. It is long overdue,” he said.
“It really is a big step towards making things much more normal for border towns.”
Diodati described the announcement as a step in the right direction, but said he did not expect the change to result in a wave of traffic and tourists.
Canada was allowing fully vaccinated U.S. travelers to enter the country, even for non-essential reasons, since the end of the summer.
However, a difference from the approach announced by the United States this week is that people entering Canada must test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their flight or arrival at the border.
Diodati said this limited the number of visitors to his town.
“The way it is right now, it’s so restrictive, the border is open but it’s not really,” he said, adding that “a lot of Americans can’t be disturbed “because getting tested all the time is expensive and requires a lot of coordination.
Video chat doesn’t go any further
Francis said her husband, Clifford, provided “so many negative tests” to see her, adding that she hopes Canada will follow the United States and stop requiring the tests to cross the border.
The couple met online in December 2019.
Clifford lives just across the border in Tonawanda, NY, Francis said. Before the border closed, it was not unusual for her to cross to stay overnight and then return to Canada to work in the morning.
But even seeing each other in person was a challenge as restrictions fluctuated. Most of their connection was through screens.
“Pretty much if… we were just at home, we would have video chat, even if he was playing video games and I was cleaning up, just to feel like we were a bit together,” he said. she declared.
The couple married in October 2020 and managed a two-week “honeymoon quarantine” where they couldn’t leave their apartment.
The news that she will soon be able to visit Clifford is a “huge” relief, Francis said.
Still, she can’t help but think about what it would have been like for her and her daughter if the change had happened sooner.
“It’s great. It’s just a shame that there was so much time wasted.”