Higgins joins Niagara Falls business leaders to explain affect of Canadian border closure

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — We should find out in the next 12 days whether or not Canadians will be allowed to drive into the U.S. or continue to be restricted to “fly-ins only.”

It’s October now, and the tourist season here will get slower every week.

So local businesses say that’s when they really rely on Canadian residents to spend some money here.

“The borders should have been opened at the same time six months ago,” Congressman Brian Higgins said.

Higgins says for every month that Canadians cannot drive over to this side, the U.S. is losing $439 million nationwide. Sales tax revenue is down 10% in Niagara Falls. But hotel occupancy was actually up this summer because up until August, American tourists could not drive to Canada and even now, tourists like Rosanna and Les Griffin from Colorado are choosing to spend seven nights on the American side.

“We are not going to Canada because we’ve just heard that it’s kind of a hassle to do that and quite expensive as well. So you’re spending your money here how has it been so far? Great. We enjoyed it we did the maid of the mist and everything it was fun,” the Griffin’s said.

Now that more of the Canadian population is vaccinated than the U.S. population, Higgins says it makes no sense to keep them out.

“If you’re now saying despite the good progress that’s been made in getting all these folks vaccinated they can’t cross the border. So what are people left to believe?,” Higgins said.

“We don’t know what’s going on and we haven’t heard from our local constituents. We haven’t heard from Schumer and Gillibrand exactly what are you doing to get this border open. We are here today with the congressman. But we need more voices behind us to make this happen,” Executive Director of Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce Kory Schuler said.

October 21 is when the travel restrictions will either change or be extended for the 19th time, for yet another month.

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