Book Sabres tickets and a COVID-19 test in one? Pharmacies get inventive as U.S. border reopens
TORONTO -- A COVID-19 test could be booked along with the purchase of Buffalo Bills or Sabres tickets as American pharmacies seek to provide services to an expected surge of Canadians travelling across the border when it reopens to non-essential travel.
Done right, the test result could be e-mailed to a traveller before the game is even over, said Joe Bellavia, the supervising pharmacist at Vital Pharmacy in Buffalo told CTV News Toronto.
“A Sabres game is a perfect example. They could come and be tested before the game, enjoy dinner and we can provide them the results before it’s time to go home,” he said.
Vital Pharmacy is just one example of inventive COVID-19 test ideas being offered on both sides of the border, seeking to find ways to make it convenient — if not necessarily cheap — to cross the border.
Interest in cross-border trips are expected to surge on Nov. 8, when the United States border reopens to non-essential travel for vaccinated individuals. That means going across the border for a game, a shop or for any legal reason will be possible as long as you are fully vaccinated.
But, so far, neither government has changed the testing requirements. To get into the United States, travellers must present a negative antigen test.
And to return to Canada, Canadian citizens must present a negative PCR test that was sampled in the last 72 hours.
On the Canadian side, Go Test Rapid has set up a drive-through testing tent on Jane Street just north of Highway 401 in Toronto. They’re banking that travellers going on short trips will want to get a test before they cross the border because the 72-hour window gives people a lot of flexibility.
“Some people are getting those PCR tests on the way out, and that means they’re already set up for the way back,” Go Test Rapid’s marketing manager, Eden Hazan, told CTV News Toronto.
And to drive the point home, the company is offering a special on getting an antigen test — and a PCR test — at the same time.
“It makes it really easy to travel for a short trip,” head nurse, Rohit Sharma, said.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is still advising against non-essential international travel. Canada opened its borders to vaccinated Americans on August 9. Basic travel documents remain requirements to cross the border.