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Mayors, MPs call for end of Covid-19 restrictions at Canada-US border in open letter – HamiltonTAZAA News

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The mayor of Niagara Falls, Ont., says he dreams of an event with the prime minister and Ontario premier cutting a “huge ribbon” along the Canada-U.S. border to signal that Canada is once again open for business.

Jim Diodati made the suggestion as several Canadian MPs and border-city mayors published another open letter to Ottawa demanding the lifting of all COVID-19 restrictions still in place at the northern border.

“This has gone on for a long time, especially in a border community that relies exclusively on tourism,” Diodati told 900 CHML. The Bill Kelly Show.

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“Typically, 50 percent of our revenue comes from our international visits to the US. It’s really important to us that we do the right things. “

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Diodati joined 22 municipal leaders, members of Congress and MPs this week in calling on the federal government to scrap Covid-19 testing requirements for fully-vaccinated people who want to cross the border from the US to Canada.

The joint message said lifting restrictions would aid recovery from Covid and that communities have the means to slow transmission rates in the population, essentially allowing both countries to return to “normal daily life”.

“It’s a real common sense approach to what we’re dealing with right now,” Diodati said.

“We are optimistic. We believe we are going to complete these unnecessary border restrictions to enter the country by the end of September.

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Staff reports estimate that the city is still down 50 percent in international visitation compared to pre-pandemic numbers in 2018.

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During the same period, the Niagara region had an estimated 40,000 people with tourism-related employment in the region.

The letter does not address Canada’s ArriveCAN pre-screening app as an issue, but the software is still required for all travelers entering Canada by air, land, rail or sea, with limited exceptions.

Online protocols require travelers to submit the information within 72 hours of arriving in the country or before boarding any cruise ship bound for Canada.

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Last month, Canada’s Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino sent more than 1,500 emails through the Canadian American Business Council’s campaign, “Travel Like It 2019,” which went live in early August.

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An online campaign is calling on Ottawa to scrap ArriveCon.

Federal Transport Minister Omar is steadfast with the Algabra app, which will make crossing the border “more efficient”.

In late August, Annie Koutrakis, Parliamentary Secretary to the Transport Minister, insisted that abandoning ArriveCon would increase delays and bottlenecks and that removing the mask mandate would not reduce waiting times.

80 percent of Niagara Falls’ tourism revenue comes in the summer months.

According to Diodati, city staff have not yet calculated tourism numbers for 2022, but he said the numbers are higher than the previous two years due to meetings at the convention center.

“So that business is back,” Diodati said.

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“I can tell you right now, this week, we’ve got the Ontario Construction Association, 2,000 representatives in town all week.”

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