(AP) — The closure of the U.S.-Canada border has cut off many families from loved ones on the other side, but a park between Washington state and British Columbia has provided some with a rare chance for in-person visits.
Visitors from both sides are allowed to cross inside Peace Arch Park, without having to display a passport. That’s made it a reunion spot for families, couples and friends separated by the border closure.
Blaine, Washington, resident Lois England and Surrey, British Columbia, resident Ian Hendon met up there following the longest separation of their three-year relationship.
“I actually ran,” England laughed, recalling their first reunion at the park.
The park is a frequent site of picnics and sometimes weddings, not to mention an area for travelers to stretch their legs when holiday traffic clogs the ports of entry. And for now it’s one of just a few areas along the along the entire border where those separated by the closure can meet.
Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns. The U.S. side reopened early this month, as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee eased some of the restrictions in his stay-home order, and the Canadian side reopened two weeks ago. England, of Sumas, Washington, said she cried when Hendon called to give her the news and they quickly made plans to meet.
England said she and Hendon have generally been careful about social distancing, but there was no thought of keeping 6 feet apart when they saw each other.