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Wash. Gov. asks Canada for help as border restrictions practically cuts off US city

Wash. Gov. asks for Canada help as border restrictions practically cuts off US city
Posted at 4:38 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 17:45:57-04

Point Roberts, Washington, is a bit of a geographical anomaly. Just south of the 49th parallel, Point Roberts is surrounded by water to its south, east and west. The only road that leads out of town is into Delta, British Columbia.

With access across the United States/Canadian border limited to essential travel, border restrictions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has hamstrung the town.

While the United States and Canada worked out an agreement of a land pass for those traveling between the Lower 48 and Alaska, there is no such agreement for Point Roberts and its 1,300 residents.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has requested the Canadian government to allow Point Roberts residents be able to cross the border more freely. The letter was addressed last week to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"Given the community’s isolation, there are very limited services available in Point Roberts and residents customarily travel into Canada or to Whatcom County to obtain needed goods and services, including regularly accessing schools and education centers due to quarantine rules,” Inslee said. “As such, Washingtonians living in Point Roberts face unique hardships resulting from COVID-19 border closures, including challenges for students’ academic and athletic careers, increased uncertainty for local businesses, and an inability to see family and loved ones living outside the Point Roberts enclave on the Tsawwassen peninsula."

Currently, the US/Canada border is closed to non-essential travel through September 21.

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Data from The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.