Estevan awaits border reopening and return of American patrons, friends

·2 min read
Estevan's Chamber of Commerce executive director Jackie Wall said a variety of COVID-19 measures are in place in the city, but businesses were ready to welcome back American patrons when the border reopens.  (Glenn Reid/CBC - image credit)
Estevan's Chamber of Commerce executive director Jackie Wall said a variety of COVID-19 measures are in place in the city, but businesses were ready to welcome back American patrons when the border reopens. (Glenn Reid/CBC - image credit)

Fully vaccinated Americans will be able to travel north and visit Canada as of Aug. 9.

But that change was only made by the Canadian federal government. The United States won't be opening its land border to Canadians until at least Aug. 21.

For those in one Saskatchewan border community, the change to allow Americans into Canada again is welcome.

"I know we're not there yet, [Canadians] are still waiting, but we do have a lot of trade that happens because we're so close to the border and we are the largest centre for a lot of the population that is just south of the border." Estevan Chamber of Commerce executive director Jackie Wall said.

She said there are people in Estevan excited to see their friends and patrons from the United States.

Wall said many local businesses quickly adapted to life in the pandemic and the changes that came with it.

She said many businesses also came to the understanding that even as COVID-19 goes away, there is still a new reality where people will shop locally, but some want to shop locally online.

Wall said the chamber's network was able to obtain funding to help businesses get online and that in the near future, 35 videos will be produced to help members increase their digital presence.

Non-chamber members would be able to access the video service for a charge as well, she said.

"I know the trends are digital, people are on their phones a lot and people on their social media feeds and you need to have a digital presence to really meet your consumers," she said.

Wall said it was nice to see people's smiles again in Estevan after the province lifted COVID-19 restrictions.

She said there are still a variety of regulations in place in the city, with some being put in place by business owners and others being government mandated.

Regina Airport still on uncertain ground

Regina Airport Authority CEO James Bogusz said he welcomes the upcoming border change, but was disappointed by one particular move by the federal government so far.

"Any changes to the border that would allow visitors to come to our country, we see as incredibly positive," Bogusz said.

"Having said that, we were not impressed that Saskatchewan as a province has still been left off the list in terms of the ability to handle international flights."

Bogusz said that after Aug. 9, many airports elsewhere in the country will be allowed to handle international flights. He said he's not sure when they will come back to Saskatchewan, but hopes it happens sooner rather than later.

He noted the Regina airport is introducing new domestic routes and said an increased frequency of flights to places like Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto is a boost for the airport.

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