In Plattsburgh, Schumer suggests U.S. open border to vaccinated Canadians

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During a visit to the Plattsburgh Boat Basin on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said if an agreement is not reached by July 21. the U.S. must take the first step to allow travel into the United States by vaccinated Canadians,

“If we can’t get the Canadians to budge, we should do it on our own,” Schumer said. “It’s estimated that Canadian travelers, 2 million of them in 2019, contributed millions of dollars to our North Country economy.”

Art Spiegel, co-owner of the Plattsburgh Boat Basin, said 80% of the boats are owned by Canadians. and it hurts us to not have them here.

“But it’s the fact that we are not servicing the boats, we aren’t filling them with fuel,” Spiegel said. “They aren’t in the restaurant here and uptown, it’s certainly been a big effect for two years.”

Frederique Pichon and Benoit Laflur, a couple from Montreal, said they flew into the country just to come to the boat basin. They haven’t been able to use their boat since 2019. “This summer we said no, we have to go to the lake to sail,” Pichon said. 

It was a 20 minute flight, with quite the price tag.  “It costs us almost $2,000,” Pichon said. “Almost $1,000 to fly and almost $1,000 to bring the car and the trailer.” 

Their children and family members can’t get across the border to enjoy the boat with them. 

“So we hope that the border opens July 21 because we want our children and family to come see us,” Pichon said.

The U.S.-Canadian border was closed to non-essential travel on March 20, 2020.

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