Testing requirements preventing some Canadians from making short trips to U.S.

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International travelers coming to the U.S. must be vaccinated and have a negative COVID test, but when it comes to our Canadian friends crossing the border, certain stipulations with going back to Canada have prevented some travelers from making their way over.

As of Monday, Canadians now have the OK to travel to the U.S. by land – something border towns and other tourist destinations like Lutsen have been looking forward to for months.

One thing proving to be a barrier to taking quick trips to the states is the COVID test required to get back.

"It wasn’t until that was announced and we were tracking the traffic patterns that we noticed the testing requirement really is a barrier that is noticeable," said Jim Vick, Director of Operations and Marketing at Lutsen.

Canadians heading back home need a negative PCR – or saliva – test taken within 72 hours of returning home. The issue is the cost and availability of these tests.

Tests for non-Minnesotans can range from $100 – $300 depending on the provider.

A representative from Vault Health MN, the organization that provides PCR testing for the DECC in Duluth, says their at home tests are around $120 dollars and results are returned 1-2 days after making it to the lab.

"Canadian visitors are about 10% of our winter traffic and we didn’t have them at all last year," said Vick. "We do miss them around. They have a great spirit when they come here – it feels different when we have that mix of visitors."

For travelers thinking of making day or weekend trips, the testing costs and timing parameters may not be worth it for them right now.

Vick emphasizing that it would be great to find a solution that streamlines those tests for visitors who want to come down for just a day trip or a short visit to the States.

When speaking exclusively to WDIO, Senator Amy Klobuchar said the vaccination requirement itself makes sense, but the specific testing stipulations are unique with the U.S. to Canada.

She says they will pursue changes to those requirements with Canadians, but the main goal was to re-open the borders.

Individuals traveling to Minnesota can obtain a COVID-19 test at a number of testing locations throughout the state.

To find a COVID-19 testing site visit: Find Testing Locations in Minnesota / COVID-19 Updates and Information – State of Minnesota (mn.gov).