Maine town hopes free PCR testing can bring Canadians back – New Brunswick | The Canadian News

The town of Calais, Maine, hopes to access free PCR testing in the city, traffic may move across the Canada-US border again.

Just across the St. St. Croix River from St. Stephen, NB, combines the two towns to form one community – with the international border a small detail in between.

Residents of St. Stephen previously told Global News how symbiotic things were before COVID-19 closed international travel – as well as the headaches caused by the requirement of a negative molecular test result to return to Canada if they were to skip for a visit .

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Even the month-long lifting of the requirement in the fall seems to benefit the community.

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“I’ve never looked so much like seeing Canadian records as I do,” says Mike Ellis, city manager of the City of Calais.

“We are like one big happy family.”

The requirement was brought back in late December 2021 amid the surge of the Omicron wave, but Ellis says Calais hopes greater access to PCR tests can get people there to cross again.

The town has lent its recreation center to the Maine Center for Disease Control and the Department of Health and Human Safety to administer PCR tests – free of charge.

Ellis says even foreign nationals and uninsured Americans do not have to pay out of pocket, they just need to provide a U.S. address so that Curative, the company that administers the nosebleeds, can be reimbursed by the U.S. government.

This is good news for people crossing to see family or friends whose address they can use – but it’s unclear how those without an American counterpart can benefit.

The requirement to cross the border states that the test result shown must be of a test taken within 72 hours (or three days) after the crossing.

This means that if you live in New Brunswick and are only planning to go to Maine for a day or two, you can show a PCR test result taken at home before your trip (provided the province presents your result in time can turn around).

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These are longer trips that would mean a Canadian need to be tested in the US

Read more:

Canada re-introduces PCR test for any length of trip abroad amid Omicron

Without the simplicity of crossing on which people in St. Stephen and Calais have started relying, say state-owned business owners are suffering.

“We had a clothing store, Label Shopper, they closed,” says Debra Loring, who owns Latitude Forty-Five, a barber shop a stone’s throw from the border.

“Marden’s is still open, but we constantly hear rumors.

“They’re not doing the business, I’m sure, almost where they were.”

Hairdresser Debra Loring says businesses in Calais feel the absence of Canadian customers.

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Loring opened store shortly before the pandemic, and in “normal times” it would not be uncommon for a resident of St. Louis. Stephen to make that international journey for a quality hairstyle.

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“It definitely had an impact on what could have been,” she says.

For New Brunswickers who want to see Loring for a pruning – or otherwise visit Calais – the test venue at the leisure center is 7am. until 12.00 Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

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