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No pre-entry PCR test required at Point Roberts and other B.C. borders for short shopping trips

CBSA makes an exemption for B.C. borders in light of continued supply issues
Boundary Bay crossing
Cars were lined-up at the Boundary Bay border crossing on Monday in what was believed to be the last day before pre-entry testing returned for trips 72 hours or less. Now CBSA has announced no costly tests will be required at all B.C. borders on shopping trips south that are less than 24 hours.

Fully vaccinated Canadians can make short trips down to Point Roberts without needing a negative PCR test to return home or at any B.C. border for that matter.

On Wednesday morning, Canadian Border Services Agency announced B.C. residents will not have to take a pre-entry COVID molecular test before coming back into Canada if they must travel to the U.S. by land to access or purchase goods or services and are absent from Canada for no more than 24 hours.

The exemption also applies to unvaccinated children under 12 years of age entering with one of their fully vaccinated parents, step-parents, guardians or tutors and a person with a contraindication to vaccination.

The decision is based on the continuing supply issues in B.C. caused by last month’s Atmospheric River flooding that led to significant damage to the province’s highway infrastructure.

"The Government of Canada understands the significant damage and upheaval that has been caused by the flooding situation in B.C. Should a border services officer determine that the traveller entered the U.S. and does not meet the exemption requirements upon their return to Canada, travellers will be referred to Public Health Agency of Canada officials who will assess next steps and determine the appropriate public health measures the traveller must follow.

“Travellers should ensure they are only within the U.S. for the required period to access or purchase goods and services and return to Canada as soon as possible, without any unnecessary stops. Those who attend social visits, events or functions would therefore not be exempt from the pre-arrival testing requirement. Travellers should also continue to follow all local, provincial/territorial and public health guidance including masking in public, and maintaining social distancing,” the press release said.

The update should at least clear up some confusion at the Boundary Bay crossing where fully vaccinated Canadians have returned from Point Roberts without having to provide CBSA a negative PCR test based on the latest information coming out of the Order in Council Canada.

Among the numerous pre-test exemptions listed was “a fully vaccinated person who enters Canada from the remote communities of Hyder, Alaska, Northwest Angle, Minnesota or Point Roberts, Washington.”

This was actually put in place back on Nov. 21 and extended on Monday (Dec. 20).

The ArriveCan app must be used for all lengths of trips and travellers can still be randomly selected for a COVID-19 test to be done at home.