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Truckers Protest in Canada over COVID-19 Regulations Continue into the US
Massive truck protests over COVID-19 regulations that originated in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, on January 29 have sprawled away from urban centers and onto major thoroughfares, including those connecting trade routes between Canada and the United States. On February 10, 2022, the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor was partially blocked, disrupting a border crossing that accounts for 25% of US-Canadian commercial trade, leading the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to request leniency in other ports in order to alleviate the additional volume of cargo processing.
The protest, which was initially instigated by Canadian truckers protesting their government’s new vaccination requirement (or else face a two-week quarantine after crossing the US-CA border), has morphed into a more generalized movement protesting against masks, hand-washing, and other public health measures intended to reduce contraction of COVID-19. In addition to the Ambassador Bridge, tractors and other vehicles also blocked Alberta’s Highway 4 in both directions on February 8, while the Coutts-Sweet Grass border crossing, which accommodates 150,000 trucks every year, found itself blocked on February 9. Canadian officials say that their options to reduce the blockages are limited due to a lack of specialized equipment and operators needed to remove the vehicles.
Alternative routes for truckers include the Detroit-Windsor tunnel (although this has height requirements) and the Blue Water Bridge connecting Port Huron and Sarnia; due to the sudden influx of traffic heading from the United States into Canada, delays of 4+ hours have been reported.
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