Stewart/Hyder ask for special opening during COVID pandemic

Kathy Brookes

Residents of Stewart and Hyder are calling for a special opening of the BC/Alaska border between their towns as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
They're petitioning provincial, federal, and state officials to designate their region an "integrated trans-border community" and allow locals-only access without a mandatory quarantine.
A news release from the Hyder and Stewart COVID-19 Action Committee says the border closure is causing undue hardship and isolation.
It points out Hyder has no road connecting it to other parts of Alaska - and its 63 residents  believe they would pose very little threat of transmitting COVID-19 to Canadians.

The group points out all the ways the two communities act as one - from the workers in Stewart who travel through Hyder back into Canada to mines and hydro operations -- to the Hyder residents who shop and go to school in Stewart - and the community events they hold together.
Current policy allows one member per household from Hyder a single trip per week into Stewart for fuel and groceries.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday that the proposal for a special zone sounds reasonable, but it's a federal issue. 

And she did point out there has been an increase in COVID-19 cases recently in other parts of Alaska.

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