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Canadians set to travel south as border restrictions end

Canada-US Bridge
Posted at 5:45 PM, Nov 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-04 17:47:17-04

MCALLEN, Texas — For the first time since March 2020, legal land crossings can resume for non-essential travel.

Starting Nov. 8, Mexicans and Canadians will begin entering the United States for leisure, to visit families and to spend money.

WHAT HAPPENED

On March 21, 2020, former President Donald Trump began restricting non-essential travel at Canadian and Mexican land crossings.

The policy was put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

When President Joe Biden took office in January, he extended the restrictions.

However, on Nov. 8, those land border restrictions are ending for vaccinated foreign nationals.

WINTER TEXANS

McAllen, Texas is a community that has been impacted by the border restrictions.

However, it's not just Mexican citizens that the border community in South Texas is anxiously waiting to welcome back. Monterrey, Mexico is within a three hours drive of McAllen. It is considered the wealthiest area in the entire country.

"We have over 300 RV parks in our area and 25-30% come from Canada," said Kristi Collier, who is with Welcome Home Rio Grande Valley.

"That can be 25,000 people who come to our area every winter," Collier added.

Collier says tens of thousands of Canadians take their RVs from Canada and drive down to South Texas each autumn.

They are affectionately called "Winter Texans."

"It will be a mad dash south," Collier said.

"'Winter Texans' are big business in South Texas," Collier said.

What’s drawing them to McAllen? The sun, the palm trees, access to nearby beaches and the affordability of being able to cross the border for food and, sometimes, medical care.

"All of our 'Winter Texans' enjoy going across the border to get their dental work done," Collier added.

While thousands of Canadians are expected to visit the McAllen area, thousands of Mexicans are also expected to cross the border.

Juan Rodriquez says some reunions will be emotional. He said his dad is looking forward to having American food again.

"My dad wants to come here to eat the Whataburger and he misses all the restaurants, he misses his family over here," Rodriquez said.

What’s unclear is how many foreign travelers will actually cross land borders in the coming days because of the vaccine requirement.