NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Businesses and business owners across the Buffalo Niagara region are looking forward to the long-awaited return of their Canadian customers.
In three weeks, fully vaccinated Canadians will, once again, be allowed to cross the border into the United States. This comes after a very long border freeze due to the COVID pandemic.
John Percy is the president and CEO of Destination Niagara USA, says the Biden Administration's decision comes as very good news for many local business owners, many of whom have been fighting to stay afloat these past two years.
"They've always been friends and neighbors to the North," Percy says. "They are very impactful to this community. This community received well over $100 million in retail sales alone from that market."
Niagara Falls is an undisputed destination. One of the Seven Wonders, the Falls brings in millions of visitors and tourists every year. But given the impact the pandemic had on the world, and on the border, tourism in many ways took a hit.
"We miss those dollars," Percy said.
Tony Di'Natali owns "Luvmore Gifts Store" and several other businesses in Niagara Falls and says he's looking forward to a rush of customers who have been patiently waiting to cross over, especially with the holiday season approaching.
"It's such a seasonal business," Di'Natali says. "After Labor Day we took a big hit in tourism here because it gets cold, the kids go back to school. So we don't see a lot of tourism in those winter months."
But that could be a different story come November, especially given how long folks had to wait. Only time will tell.