PCR test waived for BC border communities who need to refuel in US

Nov 21 2021, 9:30 pm

The federal government is removing the PCR testing requirement for some residents of British Columbia as the province grapples with a gas shortage.

Bill Blair, the Minister of Emergency Preparedness, announced on Sunday that residents who live near the border can drive into the United States to refuel their vehicle and then return to Canada without having to undergo a PCR test.

“To be very clear, those exemptions do not apply to non-essential travel,” Blair said.

“It does apply to people who are required to travel over into the United States in order to obtain access to essential goods and services. But it does not include family trips, vacations, or other types of tourist activity.”

For example, Blair said, someone in Delta could cross into Washington State at Point Roberts, refuel, and then return to Canada without needing a PCR test to enter the country.

Those crossing the border to access other essential services, such as food, will also be exempt from the testing requirement.

With the Trans Mountain pipeline shut down and roadways damaged by flooding and mudslides, Southern BC is facing a gas shortage.

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced on Friday that non-essential drivers will be limited to 30 litres of fuel per gas station visit until December 1.

The emergency order will ensure that commercial vehicles have adequate access to fuel, which will help stabilize supply chains, Farnworth said.

The measure, which is being regulated through the honour system, has led to long lines and panic buying at gas stations across the province.

“Canadians will have to abide by all of the requirements of the United States to enter into their country, including producing the appropriate travel documents,” Blair said.

“But they are not required crossing into the land border to have a negative PCR test.”

Zoe DemarcoZoe Demarco

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