Travelers headed to the border Monday, the first day Canada has allowed fully vaccinated Americans to cross over under relaxed coronavirus restrictions. Vehicles were backed up, with the wait time at the International Falls, Minnesota-Fort Frances, Ontario, crossing was seven hours, the CBC reports. People were rushing to loved ones, friends, relatives, and vacation properties they hadn't seen in more than a year because of the pandemic, per the Wall Street Journal. A couple forced to spend most of their two-year engagement apart was reuniting in the border town of Sarnia. A New York woman was on her way to meet her partner, who lives in Toronto, at a Tim Horton's in Fort Erie. "We have missed so much of each other's lives, so many milestones," she said.
Canadian businesses were happy to see the visitors. "We welcome our Americans, and we depend on their foot traffic," said the owner of a Mexican grill in British Columbia, per USA Today. But the US hasn't returned the favor; Canadians can fly to the US but not pass through land crossings. Canada attributed the change to its high vaccination rates and decline in new infections. Anyone coming from the US must show no symptoms, have had their final dose of vaccine at least two weeks earlier, and show proof of a negative virus test within the past 72 hours. Proof of vaccination has to be uploaded to a Canadian government app or website, and visitors must have proof of vaccination with them. Canada plans to open its borders to travelers from other nations next month. (Read more US-Canadian border stories.)