COUTTS, AB – It’s been a busy few days at Alberta’s largest land border crossing during the first week of re-opening to non-essential travel for American visitors.
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) spokesperson, Lisa White, tells our radio station that there aren’t numbers yet on exactly how many travelers have crossed since Monday (Aug. 9), but it certainly has been busier than normal.
With that said, White is strongly encouraging travelers coming from the U.S. to be prepared for COVID-19 screening at the border in order to limit wait times. “Make sure you have that pre-arrival test and the test result in hand, make sure that it’s a PCR [test], make sure that you’re doubly vaccinated and it’s been at least 15 days, and then you should be good to go.”
White says people have also been arriving at the border without their information submitted on the ArriveCAN app or website, their PCR test was completed more than 72 hours before their arrival or travelers are not considered fully-vaccinated because they haven’t waited long enough after their second dose. In some cases, unprepared travelers have been turned away.
She notes that staff are at fully capacity at Coutts, but visitors can still expect a short wait since the screening process can take some time.
With visitors planning international trips for the first time in 18 months, White says there is a steady flow of traffic to and from Coutts.
“With the rule changes on Monday (Aug. 9), it’s more for leisure. But that said, given the fact that all the requirements that go into that, you’re not seeing day trips. Folks are coming up for longer stays.”
She notes that people are making their way up to Alaska again, as well.