The Canadian Border Service Agency has announced that travellers stuck due to the flooding along B.C. highways will be exempt from COVID-19 protocols when crossing the border in order to get back to their home.
In a statement Tuesday (Nov. 15), the CBSA said parameters within the Orders of Council framework allow for travellers who are not able to get back home without crossing into the United States to be exempt from the mandatory PCR test prior to entering the U.S., the required test upon entering Canada and any mandated quarantine.
Currently, the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island are cut off from the rest of Canada due to all main B.C. highways being shut down due to mud and rock slides following days of torrential rain.
Under U.S. Customs and Border Protection policies, Canadians can use government issued identification such as a driver’s licence to cross into the United States via land or sea, but it is highly encouraged to use a federally-issued passport.
In a statement to Black Press Media, a CBSA spokesperson said the agency is working closely with its U.S. counterparts “to facilitate passage during these exceptional times.”
On Tuesday, provincial officials remained hopeful that some detours would be available for essential travel in the coming days along routes that saw less damage from the unprecedented weather. A number of routes, such as the Coquihalla and parts of Highway 1 and 7 are still undergoing geotechnical assessments to determine next steps for rebuilding.
B.C. is just one region along the Pacific Northwest experiencing historical flooding.
The Canadian - U.S. Sumas border crossing remains closed due to flooding along the Nooksack River. The other crossings in the Lower Mainland and Interior remain open with varying hours of operation.
“At this point in time there is no reasonably safe way to drive to Bellingham without putting yourself or others at risk. Please do not drive through standing or rushing water,” the city’s police department said via Twitter on Tuesday.
Bellingham experienced record rainfall Sunday with a one-day total of 7 centimeters, crushing the prior daily record from 1998 at 2.2 centimeters, according to the National Weather Service.
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