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"It's disheartening," WNYers with homes in Canada react to border closure extension

Posted at 7:17 PM, Jul 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-14 19:18:50-04

EAST AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — Increasing COVID cases in the U.S. are keeping the U.S.-Canadian border closed for at least another month. That move is leaving cottage owners in a quandary.

"It's a long tradition and a lot of legacy there to use that southern border and get over to Canada and that's gone, it's absent...it's disheartening," said Jerry Ritch of East Amherst.

Ritch owns a cottage with his wife in South Ontario. They've visited every summer for 40 years until this year, when the border was closed due to non-essential travelers COVID-19.

The ban was set to end on July 21, but has been extended to August 21.

"The goal post keeps on moving. In the wrong direction unfortunately," said Ritch.

It's all about the numbers, according to Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26). The number of COVID cases in the US is increasing, while the numbers have gone down across the border.

Border Closed at Peace Bridge
Border Closed at Peace Bridge

"Nothing's going to change 30 days from now until those numbers in the United States begin to trend down," said Higgins.

Ritch is asking the Canadian government for an exception for homeowners.

"Because we could follow the CDC guidelines very easily. We can self quarantine, because obviously we have a place to stay, we can wear a mask and we can practice social distancing," said Ritch.

But Congressman Higgins says he already tried to have the rules expanded to include homeowners in the essential traveler category, but it didn't work.

"My hope is that this will jolt United States CDC and the president to take more decisive action relative to social distancing," said Higgins.

Ritch hasn't lost hope and is looking forward to returning to his summer home.