Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Welcome Back, Snowbirds

From the Washington Post:

The White House announced late Tuesday that it will ease pandemic-related restrictions on overland border crossings from Canada and Mexico for foreign nationals.

Starting in early November, people engaged in nonessential travel who provide proof of coronavirus vaccination may enter the United States for reasons such as tourism or visiting family, according to White House officials. In January, all travelers across the land border, including those traveling for reasons deemed essential, must be vaccinated.

The move is a mostly noncontroversial — though some critics would say long overdue — easing of a policy put in place as the United States and other nations sought to safeguard their populations during a global pandemic.

As conditions have improved, along with the availability of vaccines and mitigation measures, business leaders, lawmakers and mayors of border towns have pressured the federal government to ease travel restrictions.

Last month, the White House announced that it will relax air travel restrictions on foreign travelers who have been fully vaccinated starting in November. This week’s announcement brings requirements for people crossing by land in line with those flying into the country.

A large portion of the South Florida tourism population comes from Canada. You’re just as likely to see cars with plates from Ontario and Quebec stuck on the Palmetto Expressway as you are likely to see the plates with the orange balls. In certain communities, you’d hear French as well as Spanish and English on the streets.  This is a slow crawl back to normal, and welcome along with the cooler temps and lower humidity.

This will be a godsend to the tourism industry, which is the lifeblood of the economy down here, not to mention the tax collector. Florida has no state income tax; the state relies on tourists to pay the tab for essentials. The state and counties make up the difference through real estate taxes as well, knowing that a lot of people from somewhere else also own property here, which means they can be soaked for paying for living here even when they don’t.  And we’ll return the favor next summer when Floridians flock to Lake Simcoe, cottage country, and Stratford.

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