As an organization representing the needs and concerns of business, we welcome these changes and the opportunities they represent to help our hard-hit retail sector and tourism industries recover, while also improving the broader visitor economy.
The Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce supports the cessation of pandemic-driven border measures as of Oct. 1. The following measures no longer apply:
- proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter Canada;
- use of the ArriveCAN app; and
- masks on planes and trains.
As an organization representing the needs and concerns of business, we welcome these changes and the opportunities they represent to help our hard-hit retail sector and tourism industries recover, while also improving the broader visitor economy. The removal of restrictions will help address staffing challenges in the federally regulated transportation sector and streamlining processes at our borders, allowing for better cross-border experiences.
These restrictions were not only affecting our tourism industry. More than half of the total trade Canada conducts with the United States is made possible by truck transportation. The additional time and resources spent on border measures and the ArriveCAN app slows the crossing for all and puts additional strain on already stretched supply chains. This is why your Chamber has been collaborating with fellow border Chambers to “Scrap the App,” a non-partisan campaign that called attention to the hidden costs of these border control measures.
While the removal of these restrictions is an important step for local commerce, primarily for tourism and hospitality operators, there is still more that needs to be done to help these crucial businesses recover. Tourism and hospitality services are an essential part of the local economy of many communities, including Kingston. They provide employment, invest in the local economy, bring outside dollars into town, and instill a sense of civic pride.
The reality is that recovery from the pandemic will take years or may not happen at all for some businesses. Programs like the 2022 staycation tax credit and other temporary programs should be extended into future years to help these businesses recover. Your Chamber remains in favour of ongoing supports from all levels of government.
As these measures are removed, it is important to recall why they were implemented in the first place: to limit the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 has not gone away, but the tactics of the last two years are no longer useful in preventing the spread of the disease.
We continue to encourage everyone to receive their COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, mask up as appropriate, maintain a high cleaning standard in your places of work, and do not participate in gatherings if you are sick.