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Once again, COVID test required for all travelers crossing Canada border

The Canadian government made the move because of the Omicron variant.

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — A divide between Canadians and Americans is not helping the economic success of either. 

"We're dependent upon one another, and it's definitely going to show in our sales and our bottom line for the second year in a row," said Michael Capizzi, co-owner of Michael's Restaurant in Niagara Falls. 

At least that's what Capizzi says.

"It's completely backlogged, the whole system, where if you do find a good employee, you can't keep them because business is inconsistent," Capizzi said. 

A job shortage only getting tougher, between a border closed for months and then finally reopened with restrictions changing frequently.

The latest one is because of the Omicron variant. 

The Canadian government announced every traveler into the country will once again have to get a negative COVID test within 72 hours of visiting beginning Tuesday. Previously, people crossing who were staying less than that length of time didn't need a test, just proof of vaccination. 

"There's no question it's an inconvenience. It's a cost to the traveler," said Russ Petrozzi, chairman with the Board of the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce. 

It's a cost of up to $200 or more at times, no matter whether the visit is one hour, one day, or one week.  

"That's definitely making people say gee, I don't need to go there," Petrozzi said. 

In 2019, Canadians with a Visa card spent $59 million in Niagara Falls. Unfortunately, Petrozzi doesn't expect the city to reach that number any time soon, especially this time of year. 

"The last end of the holiday season, plus the returns and gift cards, we won't get in Niagara Falls where our chamber represents is going to be very detrimental to business," Petrozzi said. "I think this is very easily mitigated if both governments would allow or would provide instant testing or very quick testing in 24 hours and they didn't charge for it."

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