BUFFALO. N.Y. — The U.S. announced on Friday that it is extending restrictions on non-essential travel to Canada through Sept. 21. Canada already lifted travel restrictions for nonessential travel to Americans earlier this month.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a tweet “in coordination with public health and medical experts, DHS continues working closely with its partners across the United States and internationally to determine how to safely and sustainably resume normal travel.”
Many Canadian Bills season ticket holders were hoping the U.S. would re-open its land borders to non-essential travel this Saturday, which is just a week before the first preseason home game.
Austin Douglas lives in Canada and grew up going to Bills games.
“I’m disappointed, but I’m not going to say I didn’t expect it,” Douglas said. “The Bills just bring everyone together. They really do.”
Canadian Bills fans have to either fly to the Bills games or give away their tickets.
“It’s tough because they’re good and you really want to be there,” Douglas said.
Another Canadian Bills fan is Blake Parnham. His family has a 12-foot Bills helmet bar in their backyard in Canada.
“We had planned to go to the August 28th preseason game, and now, here we are,” Parnham said. “We can get on a jumbo jet with 300 strangers and fly five hours to the United States, but me and my family in a car for two hours is unsafe.”
“It’s disappointing because even if it was a preseason game, we wanted to come see the team. There are countless Canadian season ticket holders that cannot cross the Niagara River,” Parnham said.
Congressman Brian Higgins said it’s unfair for both Americans and Canadians.
“Every aspect of the Buffalo and Western New York economy is impacted by the Canadian consumer,” Higgins said. “20 percent of the season ticket holders for the Bills are Canadian.”
Senator Rob Ortt said he cannot understand why the border is still closed.
“They have higher vaccination rates,” Ortt said. “There is no reason our border should still be closed to Canadians.”