Speed Reads

Inlet Issues

Northern Minnesota community cut off by Canadian border restrictions faces another month of 'crisis'

On Tuesday, Canada extended its border restrictions until May 21, according to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair. Only essential travel will be permitted across Canada's border with the U.S., reports Reuters, continuing restrictions that have been in place since March 2020.

Canadian border restrictions have proven disastrous for residents of Minnesota's Northwest Angle, a geographical oddity surrounded on three sides by Canada, with a body of water on the fourth side. The Angle's only connection to land is its border with Canada's Manitoba province, but due to a surveyor's error, it's considered the northernmost part of Minnesota. As Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.) explained in a Star Tribune op-ed, border restrictions have cut the 120-odd residents off from friends and family in the U.S. hoping to visit by road, devastated the local fishing lodges and other tourist attractions, and made it nearly impossible for residents to buy groceries or receive medical care without risking being stranded away from their homes.

Residents have pleaded with Canadian officials to open the 80-kilometer passage in Manitoba to allow tourists into the Angle, reports CBC News. Tourism has been deemed non-essential in Canada's border restrictions, but in the tourism-based economy of the Northwest Angle, it's about as essential as it gets. Beyond business concerns, residents report being separated from their families while waiting days for negative results from molecular COVID-19 tests.

"With the eyes of the national media focused on the chaos at America's southern border, few have any idea this problem exists," writes Fischbach. "But the northern border is in crisis, too."