Point Roberts’ rebound hinges on return of Canadian workers, say local businesses
Nick Kiniski’s Reef Tavern in Point Roberts should be open at noon to cash in on a lunch crowd over the busy 4th of July holiday weekend, except he can only hire about half the staff he needs to do that.
Many of his former employees moved away from the isolated U.S. community while the Canada-U.S. border remained closed during the pandemic and conditions now have made it difficult to lure them back.
He isn’t alone. Point Roberts’ only grocery store is open reduced hours, other restaurants have closed outright and the Bald Eagle Golf Club has only reopened for a few months since the pandemic due, at least in part, to a diminished workforce.
But some of that gap could be filled by Canadian summer-job seekers if U.S. authorities would restore the authority for Point Roberts businesses to use American temporary-worker visas, argues Point Roberts Chamber of Commerce president Brian Calder.
“Many businesses used that to get Canadian workers in here without incident,” Calder said. “It worked seamlessly for years.”