As of Monday, U.S. residents who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are now allowed to enter Canada for non-essential travel.
This means that travelers who are eligible to enter Canada and who meet specific criteria will not have to self-quarantine upon arrival. They will need to provide a quarantine plan if necessary.
CBC spoke with residents of two Alaskan towns along the Yukon-Alaska border to find out their plans once travel restrictions are lifted.
Leigh Horner says she felt trapped in her community.
“I miss my friends in Whitehorse,” Horner tells CBC
“I miss camping on the pass. I missed going to a cousins 90th birthday party in Nova Scotia and seeing my sister in Vancouver.
Horner says she’s also missing one of her favorite snacks.
“I miss going to the Superstore for Bick’s Hot Peppers and Miss Vickie’s Chips,” she said.
“I asked a friend to send me three bags last year via an essential worker.”
Since Horner couldn’t buy her treats in the Yukon, she started making them herself.
“I still tried to make my own version of Bick’s,” she said. “Honestly though… they weren’t that good. I won’t even try to make my own Miss Vickie’s.”
“We are really delighted with the opportunity to come and visit Canada,” said Douglas Olerud, Mayor of Haines.
“I think the protocols that have been implemented for the full vaccination, the COVID testing, should keep everyone safe. “
Olerud says the last year and a half has been very difficult for his community.
“There are so many recreational opportunities that we use in the Yukon,” he said.
“Skiing, snow removal, hiking. It’s a big part of our recreation area.”
Many Haines residents also travel to Whitehorse and Haines Junction to shop for groceries and get together. For Olerud, the first stop once entering the territory will be the dental office.
“I haven’t been to the dentist for two years now because I couldn’t cross the border for it,” Oierud told CBC.
“It’s not very fun and sexy, but, yeah, I want to get my teeth checked.”
Olerud said Yukoners are like extended family and he can’t wait to see them.
“Just that relationship of seeing each other fishing, in the shops, on the way to snow machining, you build a relationship and a friendship with people,” Olerud explained.
“It’s like you don’t have that family reunion every year and miss your crazy uncle or whatever you haven’t seen in a while and it’s always good to catch up with them.”
Olerud and Horner agree it will be fun to visit the Yukon, but hope the US federal government follows suit and allows Canadians to cross the states.
“I just hope that everyone from Haines and Southeast Alaska arriving in the Yukon will follow the protocols that Canada has in place,” Olerud said.
“We can’t wait to see the Canadian on this side of the border just as much as we can’t wait to cross the border and visit you in the Yukon.”