Should you stay or should you go?

We are just days away from the long-awaited loosening of border restrictions, which have sliced our community in half for almost two years. Starting on Tuesday, fully vaccinated Canadians will be able to cross for leisure, and stay up to 72 hours without requiring a test or quarantine upon return. It’s cause for excitement and celebration – especially for families and friendships which have endured a long and painful separation.

But for our local businesses, this opening could be devastating. Before you dust off your passport to go on a shopping spree or grocery run, think about what it could mean for our own local businesses.

Our communities have been hit hard by the pandemic. We have several COVID casualties, including Neighbour’s Modern Diner, the UPS Store, Lighthouse Fish and Chips, and Plaza Lanes, to name a few. Those who’ve survived this far have pivoted through ever-evolving rule changes, supply chain disruptions and staffing shortages.

They’ve weathered the worst of this pandemic, and survived to see Christmas – the time of year when most small businesses can finally make enough to pay some bills and beat back the wolves – only to be faced with their customer base flocking across the border.

Reuniting with family and friends is long overdue, and worth some risk. But for the sake of the businesses who’ve stood beside us through this pandemic, leave your Christmas shopping money at home.