BLAINE, Wash. — The world's longest border, between the northern U.S. and Canada, is closed to stop the spread of the global coronavirus pandemic.
The border is closed to non-essential travel, like tourism and family visits, but will remain open to critical travel like commercial trade and health care.
The closure is personal for many in the Pacific Northwest.
Byron Sprague has been contemplating dual citizenship. He just didn’t think it would look like this.
“It’s unusual times,” he said. “We’ve never faced anything like this in all my years.”
Sprague works at Roger Jobs Automotive in Bellingham but he recently married a Canadian citizen. They live just over the border in B.C.
With the border closing Friday at midnight, Sprague was able to work a deal where he’ll work from home in Canada for the next 30 days, or until the border reopens.
“The unthinkable has become reality,” he said. “I’m trying to approach this pragmatically. What is the right thing to do? Family is first for me.”
From coast-to-coast, some 200,000 people cross the U.S.- Canadian border every day, along with $2 billion in goods.
The risk to border guards processing thousands of people was deemed too much for both American and Canadian officials.
With few exceptions, the only people allowed to pass through the border will be truck drivers, airline crews and medical personnel. After 30 days the U.S. State Department will review the closure and decide whether to extend it.
Airline travel will not be restricted but passengers will be screened for coronavirus.
For Sprague, his is a small sacrifice for the common good.
“We’re going to get through this,” he said. “All Americans and all Canadians need to pull on the same rope and we will get it done.”