© 2021 Maine Public
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Business and Economy

Maine businesses and political leaders praise the Canadian border reopening next month

Casino Referendum Tribe
Robert F. Bukaty
FILE - In this May 30, 2006 file photo, motorists from St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada, wait to go through US Customs at Calais, Maine, at the nation's seventh-busiest crossing on the Canadian border, where about 4,200 vehicles cross into Calais each day.

Gov. Janet Mills welcomed the news that the Biden Administration will re-open the Canadian border to vaccinated Canadians. Mills told reporters in Portland the re-opening will affect many businesses across northern Maine.

"I think about the restaurants in Machias and Calais, Fort Kent and Madawaska, the businesses that have been dying to get back together with Canadian friends and neighbors and clientele; it's a real relief," Mills said.

In Presque Isle, Kyle Bard, operations manager for the Aroostook Centre Mall would agree on both counts.

"Yeah, I think it's a really good thing. It's going to benefit all the small businesses up here, and the big stores," Bard said.

Bard said there's no question the Mall's stores have been hurt by the lack of Canadian shoppers during the last year-and-a-half. But he has a personal reason for welcoming the news.

"I have a couple of family members. I have aunts and uncles that I haven't seen, so I think it's a really great thing," Bard said.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine’s 1st District said the re-opening was "long overdue," a sentiment shared by Republican Sen. Susan Collins. Independent Angus King noted that vaccinated Europeans have been able to fly to the U.S. for weeks. King, in a statement writes, "It's good to see the White House creating a consistency in travel policy."