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Podcast: U.S.-Canada border closure over COVID-19 leaves town stuck

A person passes a newspaper clipping across the U.S.-Canada border to another as others look on.
Kay Wilen, left, a resident of Canada, passes a newspaper clipping across the U.S.-Canada border to Leanne Gerber, Point Roberts, Wash., postmaster, as U.S. Border Patrol guards and Rosie the dog look on.
(Richard Read / Los Angeles Times)

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Point Roberts, Wash., long prospered as an appendage of Canada. Its economy thrived on sales of gasoline, groceries and alcohol at prices considered a bargain by Canadians, whose frequent visits helped make the border station one of the busiest crossing points between the two countries.

Then on March 21, 2020, in response to the pandemic, U.S. and Canadian officials abruptly closed the border to nonessential travel — squeezing the peninsula like a tourniquet. It’s stayed closed ever since.

Today, L.A. Times Seattle bureau chief Richard Read brings you the story of a town where life has stopped and is slowly going away — another consequence of the ongoing pandemic.

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Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: L.A. Times Seattle bureau chief Richard Read

More reading:

A U.S. town marooned at the tip of a Canadian peninsula

A Bit of U.S. Clinging to Canada, Point Roberts Waits for Boom

A woodsy Northwest retreat gets the water it wanted--with a flood of development

Listen to more episodes of The Times here

About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, producer Shannon Lin, senior producers Steven Cuevas and Denise Guerra, executive producer Abbie Fentress Swanson and editor Julia Turner. Our engineer is Mario Diaz. Our intern is Ashlea Brown. Our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.

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