Report: Virus could slow Canadian shopping in Washington

BELLINGHAM — An economic research study indicated border restrictions resulting from the coronavirus could reduce future cross-border shopping trips into Washington state by Canadians.

The Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University released a report concerning money spent by Canadians in Whatcom County, The Bellingham Herald reported.

The border between Washington state and British Columbia has been restricted to essential travelers and commercial trade since March 21 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The restrictions are scheduled to expire July 21, but experts believe some controls will be extended through the summer.

Easing border restrictions may not prevent a long-term impact on Canadian shopping behavior in Whatcom County, the research report said.

“Even after the restrictions are lifted, concerns about public health and safety could continue to inhibit Canadians from shopping in the U.S.,” the report said.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

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