Canada reopening border to Americans, but some say there are too many restrictions

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Two Rochester area women have one common goal: Spend a few hours in Canada.

While one is ready to go soon, the other says it’s too complicated for the time being. March 2020 seems like a lifetime ago, but that is the last time Americans were able to cross a border as close as two hours away for some to visit. After more than a year of restrictions limiting travel between the United States and our neighbors up north, Canada is officially allowing vaccinated Americans to cross into the country.

“We’re excited if we’re able to go in because we have family who lives in Canada in the Toronto area, so our plan is right now at the end of the month to meet on the Canadian side,” said Dena Levy, a resident of Brighton.

Nearly two years of severed traveled later, Canada’s border patrol is now allowing non-essential travel for Americans like Levy, who plans to visit her cousins up north for lunch.

“When we found out the [Canadian] border was re-opening, it was almost a spur of the moment where we were texting saying, ‘Oh my gosh looks like we can come over let’s get together and let do this soon as we can,’” Levy said.

However, with the delta variant, fewer workers at the border and strict, evolving guidelines from Canada, others say it is a hassle and not worth it.

“I think it’s great that it’s finally open; I just think there’s a lot of hoops to jump through at this time,” said Tracey Evert, whose father died from coronavirus in a nursing home at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They could change their mind [about entry] while I’m sitting on the bridge, and I wouldn’t even know and then what? Just to be turned around again?” Evert said. “The whole thing just seems very up in the air, and in Canada right now, I still don’t think a lot of stuff is open.”

Evert holds dual citizenship to both Canada and the United States and says the conquest to get her father’s ashes from Canada has been complicating and frustrating.

“I haven’t even been able to go get his ashes nor have I had them been able to ship to me because of pandemic rules,” Evert said.

With all the unknown, Evert wants to wait a little longer when she can properly plan her schedule around work.

“When you fill out those forms, it’s a huge amount of paperwork that you fill out. Is it worth it for me to do that? I don’t know. I’m not interested in sitting on the border for four or five hours,” Evert said.

For others like Dena Levy, no amount of hoops matter now.

“You know what matters to you, but then during COVID, during the pandemic… during the quarantine and shut down, you know really what matters to you, and it’s your friends and family. If we have to be tested to go see them it’s totally worth it,” Levy said.

Along with this change, entry of unvaccinated children under the age of 12 accompanied by a fully vaccinated parent or guardian is also now allowed. For more clarity on traveling into Canada, click here.