Money coming to keep grocer in US-Canada border community

Jun 29, 2021, 4:14 AM | Updated: 4:56 pm

SEATTLE (AP) — Money is on the way to help save the only grocery store in an isolated Washington state community that’s been especially strained by the pandemic-related closure of the U.S.-Canada border.

About 1,300 people live on Point Roberts, on the tip of a peninsula south of Vancouver, British Columbia, that juts into U.S. territory. It’s part of Washington, but separated from the rest of the state.

Before the pandemic residents often traveled into Canada to shop, work or drive the 25 miles (40 km) through southern British Columbia to reach the U.S. mainland. Canadian shoppers and tourists, meanwhile, have been a big source of revenue for the point’s businesses.

But the border has been closed to nonessential travel since March 2020. The Point Roberts International Marketplace, the community’s only grocery store, has lost many of its customers.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday that Washington would give $100,000 from its strategic reserves to support the market, which faced closure on July 15.

The money will help keep the market afloat until the border reopens, preserving its 10 jobs and avoiding a food security crisis, Inslee said. The market might even be able to add three employees once business picks up.

“While all Washington communities have been impacted, the situation up there is unique,” Inslee said in a news release. “This action is a small bridge to support the entire community and retain a critical employer. I urge the U.S. and Canadian governments to take rapid and meaningful steps to reopen travel across the U.S.-Canada land border, consistent with public health guidelines.”

The market’s owner, Ali Hayton, said she remains frustrated by the border closure but is thankful for the governor’s support, which she said would help “stop the hemorrhaging” at her store. Other businesses and residents in Point Roberts continue to need help, she said.

“As a business owner, I have never wanted a hand-out; I just want my customers back,” Hayton said.

The market has been losing $30,000 a month without its Canadian customers and owners of second homes who haven’t returned to Point Roberts, she told Oregon Public Broadcasting last week. The most recent extension of the border closure — through July 21 — had pushed her to the brink, Hayton said.

Point Roberts leaders have been calling for a border reopening exemption for their community, going so far as coming up with a plan to offer surplus vaccine to Canadian visitors. They insist they don’t pose a public health threat to Canadians because about 85% of the community’s residents are fully vaccinated.

Inslee has repeatedly asked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, without luck, that Point Roberts residents be allowed to travel directly through southern British Columbia to re-enter the U.S. mainland at Blaine. Trudeau has acknowledged the difficulty the border closures have caused some communities, but he has cautioned against reopening too hastily.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

North Carolina court stops order to spend $1.7B on education

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina appeals court on Tuesday blocked enforcement of parts of a trial judge’s recent order that demanded $1.75 billion in state taxpayer funds be spent — without express legislative approval — to address public education inequities. The majority on a three-judge panel sided with a request by State Controller […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

UN envoy warns of risk of new Israel-Palestinian violence

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Mideast envoy warned Tuesday that without quick and decisive action to address the key drivers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the region risks plunging into “another deadly escalation of violence.” Tor Wennesland told the U.N. Security Council it’s essential that the parties “calm things on the ground,” reduce violence across […]
17 hours ago
Fire burns along the lower sections of Pilot Mountain, late Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, in North Carolin...
Associated Press

Wildfire continues to burn at a North Carolina state park

PILOT MOUNTAIN, N.C. (AP) — A wildfire at North Carolina’s Pilot Mountain State Park had grown to more than 1,000 acres (400 hectares) by Tuesday afternoon, twice its size of a day earlier, authoritiess said. Officials said the blaze, which has burned more than 1,050 acres on Pilot Mountain, is about 20% contained and is […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

Ex-airline employee sentenced for stealing guns from bags

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A former Southwest Airlines baggage handler was sentenced Tuesday to six months in prison after pleading guilty to knowingly possessing or receiving stolen guns. Federal prosecutors said Mark Hunter of St. Louis was charged after a passenger traveling through St. Louis Lambert International Airport reported that a pistol had been reported […]
17 hours ago
President Joe Biden speaks to members of the media before boarding Air Force One at Minneapolis-Sai...
Associated Press

US expected to toughen testing requirement for travelers

Washington (AP) — The Biden administration is expected to take steps in the coming days to toughen testing requirements for international travelers to the U.S., including both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, amid the spread of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus. The precise testing protocols were still being finalized ahead of a speech by […]
17 hours ago
The Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson star is Illuminated on the side of Mount Gordon Lyon on Wednesd...
Associated Press

Avalanche delays holiday tradition in Alaska’s largest city

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A holiday tradition in Alaska’s largest city for more than 60 years got off to a dim start this year. A 300-foot (91-meter) wide, brightly illuminated star situated high above Anchorage in the Chugach Mountains is traditionally lit the day after Thanksgiving. However, when military crews arrived on Friday to light […]
17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Money coming to keep grocer in US-Canada border community