This small Canadian town is literally right across the street from the U.S. However, in the middle of a pandemic the Stanstead, Quebec border closure actually has the town thriving. Residents not being able to go back and forth is having a positive effect.
With the Canada-U.S. border being closed to non-essential travel since March, lots of Canadians and Americans have been impacted.
For this town that shares a border with Vermont, it's not all bad.
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Jean-Charles Bellemare, Stanstead's general manager and town clerk, told Narcity that the closure is actually helping the economy.
He said that the town's residents don't cross the border to get gas or groceries anymore because of the closure so they're spending money locally now.
"It has increased the local economy a bit," Bellemare said.
While that's a positive, there is still a downside to the closure.
A lot of people in the town have relatives in Vermont so they haven't been able to see their loved ones in Derby Line or Newport since March.
Bellemare said that there have been some meetups at the border but it hasn't happened often.
While people used to regularly go between the two countries before, there hasn't been a problem in this small community with what's happening now.
"We haven't heard a lot of people complain about the border closing," the town's GM said.
He added that at town halls, people haven't brought it up as something that's an issue.
There's no wall stopping them from going though. No deterrents were added with the closure to prevent people from crossing over like there has been at other parts of the border.
However, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, people there always had to report to the official border crossing before going into or out of Canada and the U.S.
"You can't just cross the street," Bellemare said.
Despite the bureaucracy just to visit your neighbours, Bellemare said the towns "get along pretty well."
It's a tight-knit community because of that closeness.
For a long time, the closest hospital to Stanstead was actually in Vermont so a lot of people who live in the town were born in the U.S. and have dual citizenship.
So there are elements of both cultures in the communities.
Stanstead isn't Canada's only complicated border situation.
There's an American town that's basically trapped by B.C. because it has no land access to the U.S.
So the state's governor has asked Justin Trudeau to help out by creating a transit pass that lets the residents go through Canada and directly to Washington state.