Travel restrictions between Canada, US hurting local economies, lawmakers say


WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) ─ Lawmakers in Upstate New York say their economy has been hit hard by the closure of the Canadian border.

Rep. Brian Higgins, D-New York, said Canadians don’t want Americans on their soil right now due to the pandemic, which is having a negative affect on the region.

“Why? Because we have 5% of the world’s population and 25% of COVID-19 cases,” Higgins said.

Higgins said the lack of Canadians coming to the United States for shopping, sporting events and even healthcare is bad for their economic relationship.

“Canadians spend $10 million every single year in healthcare in Western New York,” he said.

Congress and the White House are still hashing out a deal on the next COVID-19 relief package, and Higgins says any solution must include aid to state and local governments.

“If Canadians aren’t coming over here and representing 70-80% of the weekends of shopping, those are all sales tax revenues are gone,” he said.

Rep. John Katko, R-New York, believes our neighbors to the north need to be more realistic about travel restrictions, saying they should “recognize that that interrelationship is very strong and very necessary for both sides.”

Katko says they should take a page out of New York’s book.

“New York is still pretty tough about who’s coming in from out of state, but if they do, you’ve got to quarantine, and if people want to go back and forth between the United States and Canada…I think there should be a little more flexibility,” he said.

Lawmakers say they want to see more cooperation while both countries wait for a vaccine.

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