Border mayors call for Ottawa to end land border COVID-19 testing requirements

After two lost summers, border city mayors are warning that a third season of tourism impacted by COVID-19 land border restrictions could be catastrophic.

The mayors are calling on the federal government to drop the negative COVID-19 test requirement to cross the land border.

Mayors of Windsor, Sarnia and Niagara Falls held a news conference alongside tourism industry representations on Friday morning to urge the changes.

Niagara Falls, Ont., Mayor Jim Diodati said the changes should “have happened yesterday.”

“There’s no time to sit on our hands, we need action,” he said.

“We are planning our marketing right now for this coming season and we don’t want this to be strike three.”

The mayors collectively argue that with the Omicron wave on a downward trajectory, the testing is no longer required.

President of the Hotel Association of Canada, Susie Grynol, said the restrictions need to lifted immediately in order for a strong summer tourism season.

“No business model can survive being closed for nearly two years,” she said. “If we miss a third summer our sector will be at serious risk of collapse and the booking window for summer is now.”

Last week, the federal government announced vaccinated air travellers won’t need a PCR test to enter the country but will still be required to take a pre-arrival rapid test 24 hours before the scheduled arrival time.

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