POINT ROBERTS, Wash. — Residents of the isolated community of Point Roberts, Washington, will be granted access into Canada regardless of vaccination status more than a year after the border closed due to COVID-19.
Point Roberts is surrounded by water on three sides and shares its only land border with Canada. The extended closure has been hard on residents and local businesses. The community's only grocery store nearly closed due to the border closure.
Residents will get a vaccine exemption when the Canadian border reopens on Sunday night, allowing them to visit neighboring Canadian communities to "carry out everyday functions and access goods and services," according to a document from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
Residents are expected to limit their travel to those nearby communities during their stay. Residents of Hyder, Alaska, and Northwest Angle, Minn. were granted the same exemption.
Nearly 85% of Point Roberts' 1,000 residents are fully vaccinated, according to Point Roberts Fire Chief Christopher Carleton. Residents have continuously lobbied lawmakers on both sides of the border for an exemption.
However, Point Roberts faces a longer wait before Canadians can make a return to the community. The United States extended its ban on non-essential travel from Canada and Mexico to Aug. 21.