Canada loosens border restrictions for remote B.C. town near Alaska
A Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) patch is seen on an officer in Calgary, Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019. (Jeff McIntosh / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
VANCOUVER -- The federal government has made some changes to the closure of Canada's border with the United States that will have a big effect on some remote communities, including a town near B.C.'s border with Alaska.
Beginning Saturday, residents of Stewart, B.C. and Hyder, Alaska are now exempt from the mandatory 14-day quarantine that all international travellers must observe upon arriving in Canada, but only for the purposes of accessing "the necessities of life," such as food or medical services.
The change also applies to residents of Campobello Island, N.B. and Northwest Angle, Minn.
Residents of the specified communities can now access necessities from the nearest Canadian or American community without having to quarantine after crossing the border, according to a statement from Public Safety Canada.
The statement also announced that "students from Canada and the U.S. who regularly cross the border to attend school, along with one driver, and children who are subject to shared custody arrangements, along with one parent, are exempt from mandatory 14-day quarantine."
The new provisions regarding cross-border students are subject to support from provincial and local public health authorities, the federal government said.
CTV News Vancouver has reached out to Public Safety Canada for clarification on whether the change to rules for students applies to only those residing in the specified communities or applies to all students who regularly cross the border for school.
Many residents of Point Roberts, Wash. – which is separated from the rest of Washington State by water on three sides and the B.C. border to the north – send their children to school in B.C. They have been unable to do so since the border closed.
As recently as August, both the Public Health Agency of Canada and British Columbia's Ministry of Education told CTV News there was no exception to quarantine rules for cross-border students.