As an economic divider, the border has largely been imaginary. Americans take advantage of a favorable exchange rate and the temptations of a great North American city. They support the theatrical productions in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Stratford. They take in the view on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
On this side of the border, American businesses have long relied on Canadian visitors who attend Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills games, who go to Shea’s Performing Arts Center and who take advantage of New York’s more affordable prices and lower sales tax rate. The Buffalo Niagara International Airport, in particular, factors in the patronage of Canadians who like its lower airfares.
The economic losses are significant. The U.S. Travel Association has estimated that the border closure costs $1.5 billion every month. Canadian officials say that of some 22 million foreign visitors in 2019, about 15 million, or 68%, were from the United States.
Those are big costs, no matter how you slice it, and it doesn’t count the emotional stress on separated families or the personal cost of untended properties. And it’s unnecessary. Government officials of both parties are raising howls.
“It harms our small businesses and families, and does not follow the science,” New Hampshire’s Republican governor, Chris Sununu said in a statement last month. “Canada has announced they will open their borders to fully vaccinated Americans, and it’s time the United States follows suit.“ The comments were echoed from Maine to North Dakota, including Western New York, where Reps. Brian Higgins and Chris Jacobs both condemned the decision.
Originally Appeared On: https://buffalonews.com/opinion/editorial/the-editorial-board-u-s-must-match-canada-and-open-our-border/article_d4b75580-ff6f-11eb-997a-47844d7e567f.html