With U.S. land border still closed, B.C. Seahawks fans will miss home opener
He’s been a Seattle Seahawks season ticket holder for 12 years, but with the U.S. land border still closed, Vancouverite Greg Keith will miss Sunday’s home opener.
“It’s very frustrating, especially for someone like myself that loves to be down in the U.S. and spend time at sport events,” said Keith.
Fully vaccinated Americans are able to travel north into Canada with a negative COVID-19 test, but that has not been extended to Canadians wanting to drive south.
“I’m seeing all the American plates up here,” said Keith. “Here they are, allowed to come up here, but we’re not allowed to go down there. It doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
While the U.S. border closure expires on Sept. 21, travel experts predict it will be extended once again.
“At this stage we haven’t heard anything yet, so our expectation is the border will remain closed for the foreseeable future,” said Allison Wallace with Flight Centre.
Canadians are able to fly into the United States, but they have to present a negative COVID-19 test before departure and again before they can fly home. PCR tests for travel are typically hundreds of dollars in both countries.
“The challenge is, people who are really itching to travel, they’re willing to pay the extra price. But if you’re a family, if you’re on a budget of any kind, it’s a significant cost, so it is acting as a deterrent,“ said Wallace.
While Keith is fully vaccinated and has flown to Seahawks games in previous seasons, the testing requirements have him nervous to try that now.
“If you wanted to go down for a game today you would have to get a test on the Saturday, even if you only go down for a six-hour game to turn around and come back. Do you need another test when you are down there? Do the tests up here in Canada work when you’re coming back in here? I think the rules aren’t clear,” he said.
With so much uncertainty, Wallace said fall and winter travel bookings are only about a third of what they’d normally be.
“We are seeing people who are booking and making plans, but ensuring they have flexibility with cancellation. And then there are a lot of people in wait-and-see mode,” said Wallace.
Unless there’s a major change by this weekend, the southbound land border won’t be open in time for the Seahawks game.
“No, I will not be there,“ said Keith, one of at least 5,000 season ticket holders who live in Canada. “I will most likely be sitting at my house on my couch with a bunch of friends that would be at the Seahawks game with me, and we’ll be cheering them on from up here.”