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ICYMI: Inslee letter to Trudeau seeks solution for Point Roberts residents

August 21, 2020

Story 

In case you missed it: Gov. Jay Inslee sent a letter today to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau requesting cooperation in finding a solution to help Washington residents of Point Roberts.

Due to the community’s geography, the approximately 1,300 Washingtonians residing there cannot travel by land to Washington without entering British Columbia and traveling through the Peace Arch Border Crossing. The border crossing was first closed to nearly all travel due to COVID-19 on March 21.

The closure is currently scheduled to last through September 21. 

The letter reads, in part:

"Given the community’s isolation, there are very limited services available in Point Roberts and residents customarily travel into Canada or to Whatcom County to obtain needed goods and services, including regularly accessing schools and education centers due to quarantine rules. As such, Washingtonians living in Point Roberts face unique hardships resulting from COVID-19 border closures, including challenges for students’ academic and athletic careers, increased uncertainty for local businesses, and an inability to see family and loved ones living outside the Point Roberts enclave on the Tsawwassen peninsula."

The U.S. and Canada have previously agreed upon a transit pass for Americans traveling by land to Alaska. In the letter, Inslee suggests one solution would be a similar method for Point Roberts residents, allowing them to travel to and from mainland Washington through the Peace Arch Border Crossing by displaying an approved pass. Inslee’s letter also expresses openness to other suggestions from the Canadian government.

Read the full letter.

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