Border news roundup

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Senate bill to aid Point Roberts filed

U.S. Senator Patty Murray, along with her two counterparts from Minnesota, senators Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar, has introduced legislation that would provide relief to businesses in Point Roberts as well as other communities along the U.S./Canada border such as the Northwest Angle in Minnesota and Hyder, Alaska.

“The prolonged travel restrictions at the border have disrupted countless lives and exacerbated the devastating economic consequences of this pandemic for small businesses and local governments all over Whatcom County, especially in Point Roberts,” Murray said.

Under the bill, forgivable federal loans would be available to eligible small businesses for up to 75 percent of last year’s revenue, so long as a business’s revenue dropped by at least half during the second quarter of 2020. Loan forgiveness would be reduced by any additional relief received through the Paycheck Protection Program or other federal loan forgiveness programs. 

Whether the bill has any chance of being passed is doubtful given Republican control of the U.S. Senate. The full text of the bill can be found here.

Border closure

Non-essential land travel between the U.S./Canada border will remain closed until at least October 21, said Bill Blair, Canada’s minister of public safety, in a September 18 tweet.

This is the sixth border closure extension since the border closed to non-essential travel March 21 to limit the spread of Covid-19. Land ports between the U.S. and Mexico are also included in the extension.

To date, the U.S. has had more than 6.8 million confirmed Covid-19 cases and 200,275 virus-related deaths, according to CDC data as of September 23. Canada has had 146,663 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 9,234 virus-related deaths, according to the Canadian government.

Students move north to attend B.C. school

More than a dozen students moved north of the border and underwent 14 days of quarantine in order to attend school and university in B.C. The families were forced to make hard choices after the Canadian government refused to change its policies regarding students and quarantine requirements.

In a public statement issued by Eric Morrissette, chief of Media Relations, Communication and Public Affairs Branch serving Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, the government maintained that entering Canada for the purposes of education is not listed as an exemption under the Order In Council governing entry.

This article was updated September 25 to reflect additions printed in the October All Point Bulletin. 

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