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Hours-long wait times for Minnesotans traveling to Canada as border reopens

The line of cars at the border crossing in International Falls was 2 miles long.

American tourists who are fully vaccinated can now travel to Canada for the first time since March 2020. 

The border has been closed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and remained closed for non-essential travelers until 11 p.m. Sunday. And people were eager to cross the border from International Falls, Minnesota, to Fort Frances, Canada, when the border opened, with vehicles lined up for miles. 

Early Monday, the wait time at the International Falls border crossing was about 8 hours, with the Duluth News Tribune reporting many vehicles in line were towing boats on trailers. 

As of about 1 p.m. Monday, the wait time to cross the border at International Falls was 7 hours, according to Canada's tourism website, which is by far the longest wait time of the entry points that are monitored across the U.S.

Other border crossing points in Minnesota, which are not monitored on the website, did not have nearly as long of a wait, according to posts on social media, with one person saying they'd heard the line was about 40 minutes at the Roseau-South Junction border crossing.

Tricia Heibel, the president of the International Falls Chamber of Commerce, posted on Facebook saying vehicles were moving forward every 30-40 minutes because that's how long it was taking to process each person. 

She said cars were lined up for over 2 miles, with license plates from many different states. 

Heibel told the Duluth News Tribune she thinks the border crossing will have "peak-summer traffic now right into fall" due to pent-up demand from people who own cabins or vacation in Canada.

Fully vaccinated Canadians cannot travel to the U.S. until Aug. 21. 

If you're planning to travel to Canada, here's what you need to know before you cross the border

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