Thousands of Canadians Head for the Southern United States Again

Activity rooms for woodcarving, pottery-making and quilting have reopened for the first time since March 2020. Hundreds will be gathering for bingo nights and a weekly church service, as they did before the pandemic.

“Last winter was surreal: empty streets, organized activities canceled, common areas shut down,” said Kristi Getz, an American at the RV resort. Now, she said, “Our poker games are on again, awaiting the return of the Canadians.”

Added her husband, Timothy, “No one does happy hour like our Canadian friends!”

A big draw for Canadians is the ability to visit a nearby Mexican city, Los Algodones, for medical care, massages, manicures and entertainment at bargain prices.

Because they are older, snowbirds were particularly vulnerable to contracting Covid-19. Many cities, including Yuma, had high infection and hospitalization rates.

Nearly one million Canadians pumped $1 billion into the Arizona economy in 2019. Last year, that number plummeted to 257,000, who spent $325 million.

With borders reopening and vaccination rates high, the Arizona Office of Tourism is bullish about this season, said Becky Blaine, the office’s deputy director.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have said they expect heavy traffic and delays at border crossings for a while, because agents will need to verify that travelers are vaccinated.

But that is not deterring couples like the Peterses. “We’re ready to enjoy what the United States has to offer,” Mr. Peters said.

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