MISSOULA — The northern and southern borders remain closed because of the high numbers of COVID-19 cases, but US Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) is worried the continued long-term closure of the Canadian border will not only hurt the economies of states like Montana but the future trade relationships between the two countries.
This week the Department of Homeland Security extended the border restrictions to only "essential" travel for another month, citing COVID-19 case numbers. Canada re-opened its border to northbound traffic out of the US in August, albeit with considerable rules to fight the spread of COVID-19.
During a Thursday press call, Sen. Tester expressed concerns about the closure's financial impact.
"I get they're concerned about vaccinations, or lack of vaccinations, and the potential spread of the coronavirus. But you know, if Canada can do it, we ought to be able to do it. We should get that border open. It makes a huge difference on the northern tier of our state. But it impacts the entire state and the entire country because Canada is our #1 trading partner." - US Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)
MTN News asked Sen. Tester whether there are specific economic impact numbers that could be used to support the arguments for re-opening and he said he would ask about that during a planned call with the Commerce Department next week.
In an earlier statement, US Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) continued his criticism of the border shutdown calling it "inexplicable" and "devastating" to the Montana border communities.