A Fort Frances woman is unsure when she’ll be able to see her family again after it was announced by the president Wednesday that the border between the United States and Canada was closed to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S.-Canada border — the longest undefended border in the world — will shut down “by mutual consent,” President Donald Trump said on Wednesday in a Tweet around 8:30 a.m., which was followed later by press conference, which provided no details about the closure.
The action is the latest in a long series of measures aimed at reducing the spread of the coronavirus.
RaeAnn Lundy, a 2005 Falls High School graduate who lives in Fort Frances, said after the border closure, she’ll be unable to visit her parents in International Falls and grandparents in Littlefork.
“As things were evolving, we definitely feared a border closure, we just didn’t expect it to be so quick,” Lundy said.
While the mother of three understands and agrees with the closure, she said it’s still unsettling to be separated from family.
“My mom is here at least once a week,” Lundy said. “The kids and I are really going to miss seeing her so often...and we don’t know how long this will last.”
The pandemic has shut down travel around the world. Trump’s announcement on Twitter was followed by a similar announcement by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
On Thursday, confusion surrounded the “closure” and just what that means to who and when. A United States Customs and Border Patrol official said they could not provide any further details about implementation at the time this story was published
However, the president said trade will not be affected by the closure. Whether that means people who live on one side of the border but work on the other are exempt.
The announcement has some wondering about the impact of the closure to local stores that rely on customers who come across the border to International Falls to shop.
On Monday, Canada implemented strict entry requirements, preventing most foreigners from traveling to any of its provinces for the time being. Those rules initially exempted U.S. citizens.
The Trump administration has also reportedly considered shutting down the U.S.-Mexico border, which could potentially allow border patrol agents to immediately deport people back to Mexico without processing their cases at all, news reports say.