The border has been closed to non-essential travellers since March of 2020. According to reports, the federal government has begun preliminary internal discussions about reopening the border, but it is expected that there will be an extension at the end of the month.
William Hardy, Owner of the Double Tree Inn, in the Village of Coutts has hosted government employees, involved with testing at the border since February.
“In twenty years, this is the best time for making money because up till now I almost ran away a few times, but I stuck it out,” says Hardy “I’ve borrowed from two banks, and I’ve made er’ now, so I’m sticking another twenty years if I’m alive,” he laughed.
While Hardys business has thrived, other local businesses are without the usual foot traffic, which comes with warm weather, and the US border being open.
“At certain times of the year, like now, we get snow birds. You would have a lineup from the border, all the way back to the scale house,” says Village of Coutts mayor, Jim Willett “of RVs, and trailers, and people waiting to get across the border”.
Owners of the Hills of Home cafe and B&B say about a third of their clientele would come from the border crossing, but what they’ve missed most during the pandemic is serving customers face to face.
“We would have our dining, with people in, and we would have…you know, conversations. Do the stuff that you would do in the hospitality business,”says owner Carolyn Dangerfield
Coutts Mayor Jim Willett says they are working on improvement to recreational facilities and broadband internet, so when the opportunity arises, the region will be ready.
“It’s an exciting time because when this is over things are going to be different and we want to be ready for that,” adds Willett
The border closure is expected to be renewed on May 21.