Since the pandemic hit about three years ago many business have shut down and many others have been doing their best to keep the doors open and that includes Ken Pringle owner of Pringles’ Sports Excellence in Boissevain.

He was thrilled this week to hear the federal government’s announcement it was ending vaccine mandates and eliminating mandatory use of the ArriveCan app to enter Canada.

“For us these changes are critical because we do about 30 per cent of our hockey business with U-S customers and a little bit of baseball business and obviously the tourist business which had quite honestly been eliminated down to zero.”

As of Saturday, October 1st all COVID-19 border restrictions will end including mandatory vaccinations, testing and quarantine of international travellers, as well as mandatory masks on planes and trains.

As far as the changes Pringle would have appreciated the move coming a month or two earlier. “We’re optimistic because the ArriveCan app is done but to be honest it’s a bit late for the hockey season with rinks opening and this is the busy time. I tell you what I’ll take this change anytime and if gets cross border traffic back to normal and people feel comfortable crossing the borders all the border towns will see some kind of influx I think” said Pringle.

Another factor in getting American shoppers back into Manitoba is the difference between the Canadian and American dollars. “People from Rugby and Bottineau came here because of customer service and now we have to encourage them to come back because they’ll be nervous about getting across the border.”

“If we can get the word out I think it will become old habit for them after that. Getting cross border movement back to normal is crucial to rural towns staying in business. This week’s announcement is really encouraging.”