Planned Aug. 9 reopening of border with St-Pierre-Miquelon cheered in Newfoundland

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Chris Sheppard says he and others are relieved now that the international border between Canada and a clutch of French islands off Newfoundland is set to reopen on Aug. 9.

The executive director of the non-profit tourism organization Legendary Coasts said in an interview Tuesday Newfoundland and Labrador and St-Pierre-Miquelon have a close relationship, and there are families split across their borders.

Sheppard has been at the helm of an effort to get the provincial and federal governments to the table so travel could be restored between Newfoundland and the French islands that are just a 42-kilometre ferry ride away.

Dominic LeBlanc, the federal minister of intergovernmental affairs, announced Monday that fully vaccinated visitors from St-Pierre-Miquelon will be welcomed in Canada beginning Aug. 9, just like visitors from the United States, while the rest of the world will wait until Sept. 7.

Sheppard says the French overseas territory has logged just a few dozen cases since the onset of the pandemic, and a higher percentage of its residents are fully vaccinated than in Newfoundland and Labrador.

He says he expects an immediate tourism boost in both places as soon as the borders open on Aug. 9, and he hopes to be on the first ferry out to the French islands.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 20, 2021.

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