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Community responds to US-Canadian border closure extension

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Correction: An earlier version of this story said Homeland Security had an expected border opening date. Homeland Security has not released a date.

The U.S.-Canada border has been closed to nonessential travel since March of 2020, and as of earlier this week, Homeland Security extended those restrictions even further.

While these efforts are being implemented to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the impact is being felt by the community.

Blaire Trenaman said, “April of 2019 is when we first started dating.”

Trenaman, of Manitoba, and Sam Engel, of Minot, have been inseparable since.

“Every other weekend, every weekend, we were basically trying to spend with each other,” Engel said.

And just months later…

“We were getting ready for bed and I was like, ‘I just can’t wait to marry you.’ Just made the comment, and she was like, ‘You can’t huh?’ and I turned around and she’s eyeing me and she says ‘Will you marry me?’ and I started crying and she can’t get past ‘will you marry me,'” Engel said.

While getting engaged was a memorable moment for the two, things soon turned sour.

“The 13th of March in 2020 was the last weekend we saw each other and then a week from there, the 21st, they announced that the border was closed,” Trenaman said.

Although this was only meant to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, it meant Trenaman and Engel’s weekly visits would also be closed off too.

It’s now been over a year and they’ve only seen each other in person one time and that was to get married, virtually.

“It’s something we’ve always wanted and I mean it was definitely different from the wedding we thought we would have, but I think it was just an experience we got to have together,” Engel said.

The Department of Homeland Security has extended restrictions for another month, meaning these two will have to continue weathering the storm — as do business owners in the surrounding area.

“Even the truckers are slowed down. So, some of the truckers would be coming in here and grabbing beer or bottles of whiskey and taking it back home and they can’t even, they’re not even here,” Flawless Medical Spa and Hangovers Bottle Shop Owner, Kate Halvorson said.

A large part of Halvorson’s clientele is from Canada and she says she’s not entirely sure how big of a hit to her finances she’s taken from the restrictions, but she’s hopeful the traffic begins to pick back up.

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