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The parts of America cut off by the pandemic

October 14, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Hyder, Alaska, June, 2018, Old houses and Welcome to Hyder, Alaska sign

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the United States and Canada have closed their long border. That's left border towns struggling, especially two US enclaves that can only be reached by road through Canada.

Point Roberts is a 5-square-mile outpost separated from the rest of Whatcom County, Washington state and the United States by 25 miles of British Columbia and two border crossings.

Those boundaries never used to matter because Point Roberts was integrated into the nearby town of Tsawwassen in Canada says Work, "The border felt transparent.

"This is a beautiful place with a strong community, but we're isolated from just about everything," says Work, who like most residents is eager for both governments to come up with a solution that allows residents to enter and exit Point Roberts more easily.

Point Roberts is just one of many close-knit, cross-border communities along the US-Canadian border that have been cut off since Covid-19 travel restrictions were implemented.

But unlike more typical border towns — which may be separated from their Canadian counterpart but are still attached to their larger county and state — Point Roberts is what geographers call a pene-enclave; a piece of land that can be reached only by traveling through a foreign territory.

Bunn says she hopes that officials recognize the interdependence of the two communities and allow them to create a bubble before winter hits, "Due to border restrictions, Hyder residents were unable to collect firewood in Stewart, and I'm unsure how many will heat their homes this winter.

While the ban on nonessential travel across the land border makes sense to him, he points out his community is experiencing unique hardships such as families choosing to leave so their kids could go to school.

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