BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Western New York has a special relationship with our neighbors to the north, Canada. Only a bridge and a checkpoint separate the two countries. Not nearly enough for families living on opposite sides of the border to think they live far away from one another. That was until precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 shut the border down.
“I was over at least once a week to see my grandson and my son, of course, and my daughter-in-law and then that all came to a halt,” said Michelle Griffi. Her son and grandchildren live in Fort Erie, Ontario. She lives in Tonawanda.
Wednesday morning when she learned of the U.S. opening the land border to Canadians, she was elated.
“Oh my God! It's finally happening,” said Griffi. “Been, you know, on the phone all day texting back and forth planning our holidays because we didn't get to have our holidays last year, as a family.”
Her two grandchildren, who she has only visited a handful of times since Americans were allowed to cross into Canada, will soon be able to visit her. They can also visit their great grandmother, and even their great-great grandmother who is 103.
“Missed out on his first steps, you know, there's a lot of milestones you miss out on when you're not able to be there at least once a week. And with my second one, I just found out he has two teeth already,” said Griffi.
The border opening is sure to bring more business back to Western New York. But the border closure has affected more than just dollars and cents, it separated families. Families that are thrilled traffic will once again be flowing both ways over the bridges.