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Americans Facing Frosty Reception in Canada

Drivers with US plates told to 'go home'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2020 7:41 AM CDT

(Newser) – Americans are facing some rare hostility from Canadians eager to keep travelers—and any possible coronavirus infections—away from the Great White North. Vehicles with American plates have reportedly been vandalized in Canada, while occupants have been told to "go home," reports the BBC. The 5,525 miles of border separating the two nations have been closed to most travelers since March 21. That's led to economic hardship for border towns reliant on tourism and personal hardship for those with family and friends in a country now out of reach. Still, a poll conducted in July found 80% of Canadians want the border to remain closed at least until the end of the year. Canada's COVID-19 cases have fallen from a daily peak of 2,760 on May 3 to a few hundred. The US hit its daily peak of 75,821 cases on July 17 but is still seeing around 40,000 cases per day.

"Montana is directly south of us, is having a second spike of cases right now, and I don't feel sorry for anybody that gets stopped at the border, let's put it that way," Jim Willett, mayor of the border town of Coutts, Alberta, tells the BBC. Many Canadians apparently feel the same way. Len Saunders, an immigration lawyer with US clients who cross the border to work in essential services, says "they're all scared of … vandalism, dirty looks and just getting treated as some 'horrible American.'" He notes a US architect working in Canada was told to "go back home." But there's been bad behavior from Americans, too. In June, the RCMP ticketed seven people caught sightseeing in Alberta when they were supposed to be driving directly to Alaska. "The number of tickets issued was just a fraction of the number of reports coming in," per the New York Times. (Read more Canada stories.)

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