Senator Says Action is Long Overdue for Angle Residents and Businesses Devastated By Pandemic and Canadian Travel Restrictions

WASHINGTON, D.C. [7/19/21]—U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) said today’s announcement that Canada will ease COVID-19 restrictions at the U.S.-Canada border beginning August 9 will provide long-overdue relief for hard-hit businesses and residents in Minnesota’s Northwest Angle.

Sen. Smith said residents and businesses in the Northwest Angle, a Minnesota enclave reachable only by boat—across Lake of the Woods—or by traveling briefly through Canada, have been devastated by the pandemic and the border restrictions that closed the Angle off from the rest of Minnesota and the country.

“I’ve repeatedly pushed hard—both diplomatically and through introducing legislation—to get Canada to reconsider its restrictions and to take into account the Northwest Angle’s unique circumstances when applying travel restrictions,” said Sen. Smith. “Those restrictions have literally upended the lives and economic well-being of people living and working in the Angle by devastating tourism and other businesses, and splitting up families. As Canada eases restrictions, I’ll continue to work to ensure that the Northwest Angle can recover as quickly as possible.”

Sen. Smith has pressed high-level Canadian officials to work with Angle residents and businesses and to take into account the Northwest Angle’s unique circumstances when applying travel restrictions.

In April, Sen. Smith, along with Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) introduced legislation to provide relief to people hurt by COVID-19 travel restrictions between the United States and Canada. Their measure would provide forgivable loans to small businesses in exclaves of the contiguous United States near the Canadian border.

To be eligible for entry, fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents must present a negative covid-19 molecular test taken within 72 hours of flight departure or arrival at a land crossing. They will also be required to upload proof that they have received a full series of an authorized coronavirus vaccine at least 14 days before departure to a Canadian government app.

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