Canadians Crossing the US Land Border Met with Lines of Several Kilometers | The Canadian News

Canadian snowbirds chewing on their bite to escape colder weather for sunnier locations had to wait a bit longer on Monday as travelers encountered the longest lines the border village of Coutts has ever seen.

“Talking to people who have lived here their entire lives, they have never seen a lineup this much before,” said Coutts Mayor Jim Willett.

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In an area of ​​Alberta known for its prairie views, vehicles dominated the landscape Monday.

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“We thought it would be a little less than this, but … they are backed there forever,” said Gerard Reinbold, who was heading to Phoenix.

“It’s been very slow, but I guess we can’t help it.”

By noon, some heading south waited more than three hours, the first day the U.S. land borders were open since they closed on March 21, 2020.

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Gordon Bennett came from Revelstoke, BC to Calgary, before driving to the border from there.

“My wife was surprised, (but) I was not. I was thinking about three and a half hours, probably, ”Bennett said while standing in line.

“We’re cool with that,” said fellow traveler Ambrose Reschny. “We know where the sunny south is and we are heading in that direction.”

Click to play video: 'US Land Border Reopens to Canadian Travelers'

US land border reopens to Canadian travelers

US land border reopens to Canadian travelers

Land travelers must be prepared to show proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination to enter the US and a negative molecular test upon return to Canada.

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Brian Schott of Explore Whitefish says they are coming off their busiest summer and fall season on record due to a boost in domestic tourism, but are excited to have Canadians back in Montana after 20 months of restrictions.

“Canadian visitors have always been a way of life for Whitefish,” said Schott. “We love welcoming them and we are very happy to have them back.”

But not everyone enjoyed the sight of the vehicles heading toward the border.

Those who live in the town of Coutts say they have been negatively affected by the sudden influx of travelers.

“It was kind of shocking,” said resident Nadine Clark. “We don’t usually see that many snowbirds or travelers around here, maybe once or twice a season and that’s it.”

“Nothing like this. We’ve never had a lineup back on track.”

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Clark has a view of the border crossing from his home, providing him with a front-row seat to his generally quiet town, now caught in a bumper-to-bumper wave of traffic.

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“I had to go to the hospital this morning for a checkup on the baby, but we had to lose him and reschedule him because he couldn’t get out of town.”

According to Willett, there has been a minor accident on the fender.

Clark is planning to visit his family in the US and he understands the excitement, but he’s waiting for the rush to pass and suggests that others do the same.

“For anyone trying to get down quietly for a couple of days, I recommend that they don’t.”

“Not until the New Year or at least closer to Christmas … because it’s going to be crazy like that.”

“We are looking forward to a very, very strong winter season here at Whitefish,” said Schott. “(We encourage) people to come before the busiest times of the holidays.”

By midafternoon, traffic slowed significantly, below a maximum alignment that Willett estimates was four miles long, but estimates the rush will continue for at least the week.
– With files from Eloise Therien, Global News and Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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