Americans in Point Roberts want special access via closed Canadian border
VANCOUVER -- Longtime Point Roberts, Wash., resident John Beals has launched a petition, hoping the governments of Canada and the United States will make an exception, and allow residents of the tiny, isolated American town to cross the border.
“There are things that we would like to have, that we can’t get here,” said Beals.
Point Roberts is a tiny pene-exclave of about 1,300 people south of Tsawwassen. The only way to get there on land is to drive through Canada and then cross into the U.S. through the border.
Beals admits his neighbours aren’t suffering, but are having to do without many “simple” things. They can’t get their cars fixed or their dogs groomed.
Signs in the local grocery store warn to expect a reduction in goods.
“We will still have yogurt, but will reduce varieties available,” reads the yellow sign. “Instead of 4 types of tomatoes we will have only one.”
“A simple example is shampoo, you know, everybody has a specific brand. They don’t carry it here,” said Beals.
Residents would love to shop in nearby Tsawwassen, like they did before the borders closed, but they know the Canadian government won’t let them, while it tries to stop the spread of COVID-19.
That’s why they want an exception made, so they can drive into Canada and head straight to the other major U.S. border crossing about 45 minutes away.
There are no known cases of the coronavirus in Point Roberts.
“Canada wants to keep their people safe, and they should,” acknowledged Beals. “But if we drive our cars from here around to there, don’t stop, we haven’t caused any harm to anybody.”
Americans are allowed to cross into Canada for medical appointments, but they can’t be accompanied by a loved one without documents. This can be tough for seniors.
“When you’re with somebody for most of your life, you want to stay with them, especially during tough times like a doctor’s visit," said Beals.