On October 15, the US Government finally announced that the border will be re-opening, November 8 to be precise. The border has been closed since March 2020, so this is a welcome relief for the many people in both the US and Canada, especially those with friends and family on the other side.

Canada opened its borders in early September, so many were surprised that the US didn’t follow suit, especially since it had been a unilateral decision up until Canada opened its border. The USA decided to open both the Canadian and Mexican borders at the same time, which is likely why it took so long for the decision to be made.

Heading South!

Of course, the other factor that needed to be considered was how to deal with Covid and the vaccination protocols. I mentioned in my previous reports that I am double-vaccinated, but my first dose was the Oxford Astra-Zenica, a vaccine that is not recognized by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA. So, while I knew the US border would eventually open, I was leery that the four million Canadians who have been vaccinated with mixed doses, including myself, would not be able to immediately cross the border, as we would likely be considered not fully vaccinated. However, since Astra-Zenica has been approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO), the CDC has decided that any vaccination, or combination of vaccinations approved by the WHO would be accepted at the US border. This is welcome news indeed!

So, Canadians wishing to cross into the USA by the land border can finally do so in November. There will be no requirement for a negative Covid test, and only a self-declaration of vaccination status is required, unless the traveler is randomly selected to proceed to secondary inspection, in which case proof of vaccination will be required. Personally, I will wait a few weeks until the inevitable crowds subside, but my family and I have been waiting 19 months for this moment.

However, there is a snag that many people didn’t consider while waiting for the US border to re-open. While it does come as a welcome surprise that there will be no requirement for a negative Covid test at US customs, the Canadian government still requires one upon entry into Canada, regardless of citizenship status. This means that when Canadians travel freely across the US border, they have to consider the logistics when they want to return home, especially when it comes to day trips. Covid tests are expensive, especially in the USA, and it can take up to 24 hours or more to get the results back. The mayor of Point Roberts stated during a radio interview that it was unlikely Canadians would travel to the landlocked town to pick up groceries, mail, or purchase gas when it would cost several hundred dollars to do so.

Negative COVID Test Still Required Re-entering Canada

Also, it is not really reasonable, given the results would not be forthcoming in a reasonable amount of time. There is small consolation in the fact that Canadians are permitted to have their Covid tests taken prior to leaving Canada, providing their trip south of the border lasts less than 72 hrs. Now I know how American travelers feel when they come to Canada, what with having to have a negative test in order to cross the border. While we all understand the purpose is to try to keep Canadians safe, we are already limiting travel to those who are fully vaccinated, so most believe the need for the negative test is not necessary, given the inconvenience it brings to travelers. However, many people are pushing the government to drop this requirement, and some, including Canadian politicians, believe the requirement will be dropped before the US border opens on November 8.

All this comes as very welcome news to many people living on both sides of the border, and it has certainly been a long time coming. We will finally be able to visit Beachwood Resort, where we have a membership, as well as all the other places we love to visit in the United States. For my family, the opening of the border comes none too soon. We enjoy using our motorhome year-round, but in the winter our travel options are limited. We don’t like heading north or east, as even though I have years of experience as an over-the-road trucker, I prefer not to drive the RV in the significant snow we see to the north and east of Vancouver. We could travel west, but that requires a significant investment towards ferry travel to get to Vancouver Island. Unlike the Washington State Ferries, BC Ferries is very expensive. We spent a long weekend there over the labour day weekend and it cost almost $500 round trip just for the ferry. This leaves us with the most reasonable option, which is to travel south across the border to the USA. There are many places we enjoy visiting where the weather isn’t a major impediment. We are considering spending the Christmas break on the Oregon Coast and San Francisco. With the US border closed for so long, we were beginning to think we may have to stay local this winter.

U.S. RVing for Canadians - Long Time Coming

It has truly been a very long wait, and with the USA border finally re-opening, RV travelers in both Canada and USA will finally be able to freely travel and enjoy the sights and activities both countries have to offer. I am very happy that I likely will not have to write on this subject again, except to update everybody on the Covid test requirement for Canada. It will feel good to be back at our favorite US haunts again!

Steve Froese
Author: Steve FroeseEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Steve Froese is a Licensed Professional Engineer in British Columbia, as well as an Interprovincial Red Seal RV Technician, which is equivalent to a Master Certified RV Technician in the USA. Steve was a personal friend and colleague of the late Gary Bunzer (“the RV Doctor”), and works closely with FMCA as the monthly “Tech Talk” columnist, as well as being a member of the Technical Advisory and Education Committees. Steve and his family are lifelong and avid RVers, mostly in the Pacific Northwest.

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