North Country businesses disappointed over 30-day extension to border closure


North Country businesses and officials are disappointed with news the Canadian border will remain closed for at least another 30 days, saying it’s damaging ties with our neighbors to the north hurting businesses.

Jreck Subs is less than two miles from the Canadian border. Owner Carol Garceau says the shop relies heavily on business from travelers to keep them afloat.

“We’re kind of devastated by it,” she said. “We were hoping that with us going into phase 3 the border would be back open.”

Canada and the United States agreed to extend the border closure Tuesday, meaning it will stay closed to non-essential business for an additional 30 days. At the border crossing Wednesday, a trickle of tractor trailers was the only sign of traffic.

“We’ve lost about a quarter of our business with the border shutdown,” she said. “Right now, we should have travelers from New York, New Jersey, plus our Montreal and Toronto people, so it’s affected us quite a bit.”

Garry Douglas, president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, says our Canadian friends spend $375 million in Clinton County alone each year. “We’ve reached the point where we can’t keep accepting 30 day extensions without there being some kind of framework that says there is an intention by the 2 countries to work our way out of this.”

While he doesn’t deny the need to keep things closed a bit longer, Douglas says there needs to be some interim steps taken, like expanding business travel and lifting restrictions on family interaction.

“We can not wait until July 21st to have another conversation,” he said. “The social and economic fabric that connects Canadians and Americans, it’s being frayed, it’s being torn and we don’t see either government acknowledging that that is important.”

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