Canadians ready to travel to the U.S. for the first time in nearly 20 months

Posted at 5:28 AM, Nov 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-08 05:28:15-05

(WXYZ) — For the first time in nearly 20 months, the U.S. border is now open to fully vaccinated Canadians for non-essential travel.

Related: U.S. land border reopens to vaccinated Canadian travelers: Here's what you need to know

That means you can expect the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and Ambassador Bridge to be busier than usual on Monday.

Canadians have been able to fly to the U.S., but this marks the first time our neighbors can enter by land since March 2200, as long as they're fully vaccinated.

In order to come to the U.S., Canadians will need to bring proof of vaccination and their passports. To come back into Canada, they'll need proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test, not a rapid test.

Canada began welcoming fully vaccinated U.S. travelers in August, but the U.S. did not follow suit.

Business owners are hoping the taste of normalcy will lead to an economic boom, but experts warn that might not happen right away.

Neil and Pat Harrietha, and their friend Ernie, all put in for early retirement and sold their houses planning to head south. Then, officials pushed back the opening date.

By that time, all three were stuck in one of the coldest areas of Canada with nothing but each other and their RVs.

"Now that it's open, were going to come in, they're going to have to kick us out in 181 days," Neil said.

Neil and Pat have been camped out at Kabekah Falls for a few weeks now. They embarked on what they call "Our Journey with Ernie," the white-beareded travel partner who sleeps in the RV next door.

Camping out in zero-degree weather was not part of their plan. When officials announced the bridge would open in September, the whole trio decided to sell their homes and leave their careers behind. Unfortunately, it was premature.

Anne Lou, who lives in London, Ontario, is also a big fan of the U.S., and she and her family are headed to Indiana on Tuesday.

She spent the last month and a half researching every requirement there is to get across the border.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkins said the testing required to get back into Canada will deter a lot of border travel because it's expensive and inconvenient.

"The removal of the PCR requirement to get into Canada will be the key that will get things going again and allow us to get back to our friends and neighbors in Detroit," he said.