LOCAL NEWS

Point Roberts business owner says despite border opening, revenue barely up

Jan 28, 2022, 3:02 PM | Updated: 8:30 pm
Point Roberts...
Homes in Delta, British Columbia, right, and Point Roberts, Wash., left, are separated by the Canada-U.S. border which is just north of Roosevelt Way in Point Roberts, as seen in an aerial view on Oct. 13, 2021. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

It’s been two-and-a-half months since the U.S. border reopened to Canadian visitors, but unfortunately in Point Roberts, it’s not bringing the levels of tourism that businesses there were expecting after the 19-month closure.

Ali Hayton, owner of the International Marketplace — the only grocery store in town — said that while business shot up for the first few weeks following the early November reopening, that died down as soon as the omicron surge started taking hold.

“When it first opened and cases were down, we saw a 25%, 30% jump,” Hayton said. “And now that the cases are so high and these new requirements have come down that people don’t understand we’re exempt to, last week we were only up 6%.”

Point Roberts grocery store owner ‘hopeful’ with border reopening

The requirements she is alluding to are the Canadian government’s rules that Canadian citizens returning home must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours at the land border. This rule also applies to Americans visiting Canada, who must be vaccinated in addition to having a test.

With the limited availability of PCR tests right now — and many locations reserving tests only for those with symptoms — health officials say finding a test for travel may be near impossible, unless a person wants to pay out of their own pocket. That means that anyone traveling across the border to Canada is in for a challenge.

However, Canadians who are only visiting Point Roberts are exempt from the testing requirement when they return home due to Point Roberts’ status as an exclave community. The American town sits on a small peninsula that is only accessible by boat or by driving 25 miles through southern British Columbia; it is not connected to Washington by land.

But Hayton says many Canadians are not aware of that exemption. Knowing that tests are so scarce right now, and not realizing that a test is not required for them, Hayton said that many of the Canadians with second homes in Point Roberts are just opting to stay home.

“For Point Roberts, the exemption is a lifesaver, but it’s still not very well-known,” she said. “And for the other border towns, it doesn’t help them at all.”

Hayton says now, business is really only up by a few percentage points — not enough for the town’s remaining businesses to hang on long-term.

This comes after the loss of two summer tourist seasons during the border closure. About three-quarters of the town’s houses are vacation homes belonging to nearby Canadians; without those visitors for 19 months, businesses lost the vast majority of their customers. Hayton said that many of the town’s landmark businesses have already had to close.

“We’re up a little bit from last year, but we’re definitely not where we should be,” she said. “And people just are really afraid still.”

Local News

USS John McCain...
L.B. Gilbert

Navy conducting anti-terrorism exercises in Everett

If you live near a Navy base like naval station Everett and you hear sirens this week -- it's not an emergency.
1 day ago
vaccine mandate...
Frank Sumrall

King County, Seattle eliminate employee vaccine mandate

King County and the City of Seattle will no longer require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of employment.
1 day ago
internet...
Frank Sumrall

Edmonds School District’s internet still down after ‘suspicious activities’

The Edmonds School District is investigating “suspicious activities” within its network — causing the district-wide internet shutdown.
1 day ago
People walk past the Pike Place Market, Seattle's top tourist destination on March 09, 2022 in Seat...
Julia Dallas, KIRO 7 News

Pike Place Market invites people to celebrate Black History Month at Black-owned businesses

Pike Place Market is inviting the public to celebrate Black History Month by exploring the market’s Black-owned businesses.
1 day ago
brandi carlile...
L.B. Gilbert

Seattle-area native Brandi Carlile wins big at 2023 Grammys

Washington native Brandi Carlile made a powerhouse performance on stage singing her single "Broken Horses" after winning multiple Grammys.
1 day ago
Rescue workers try to reach trapped residents in a collapsed building in Kahta, in Adiyaman provinc...
Associated Press

Live Updates | Turkey, Syria earthquake kills thousands

ADANA, Turkey (AP) — The Latest on the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated parts of southeast Turkey and northern Syria early Monday. ___ India and South Korea are among nations sending rescue personnel and supplies after a devastating earthquake hit Turkey and northern Syria. India said it would send 100 members of its Natural Disaster […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Point Roberts business owner says despite border opening, revenue barely up