For nearly 100 days, residents of Stewart, B.C., and Hyder, Alaska, have asked the Canadian government to loosen strict COVID border restrictions limiting travel between the two border towns. And now, they have a lot to celebrate.
“All the hard work has paid off and we’ve won major privileges for residents at our remote border!” reads a Facebook post from the “Hyder-Stewart action committee”.
Canada’s Minister for Public Safety Bill Blair announced before the weekend that residents from Stewart and Hyder will be allowed to cross the border without having to do the 14-day quarantine required at other crossings.
These changes will allow Hyder kids to attend school in Stewart, as Skeena Strong reported earlier this year, as well as making it easier for cross-border trips for food and medical services. Neither northern community is considered to be at high-risk for COVID.
“Long overdue, this was an important and necessary step for residents in this remote part of the world to maintain their quality of life,” Skeena MP Taylor Bachrach wrote in an Instagram post over the weekend.
One of the committees lead organizers, Jennifer Jean, thanked Bachrach on Facebook, writing that he “was the first elected official willing to engage with us on the Stewart/Hyder border issue, and he bravely took up our fight, championing our cause tenaciously, raising awareness amongst his colleagues, when the broader public could not see a good reason to do so.”
The Terrace Standard reports that the federal government also loosened border restrictions for “two other remote communities, one in New Brunswick and one in Minnesota.”
What do you think? Does it make sense to create an exception for Stewart and Hyder? Do you think the Federal government took too long to deal with this? Comment on our Facebook!