Peace Arch Duty Free Shop at the Peace Arch border in Surry, British Columbia is one of the Canadian land border duty free stores that is now open for regular business.
After being closed since March of last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which only allowed essential traffic and trucking to cross the border, Peace Arch reopened on August 12 after the Canadian government amended the travel restrictions to allow all Americans who are fully vaccinated to enter Canada, effective August 9.
The closure of the duty free shop has meant a substantial loss, reported the company in a state-ment, as it was required to continue to pay its lease payments and a huge inventory write-off.
The company expects to welcome American visitors at this time, but with the announcement that the U.S. government has not reciprocated and reopened the U.S. border to Canadians, Peace Arch and the land border duty free operators will have to wait at least another month to serve their all-important Canadian customers.
Meanwhile, Peace Arch Duty Free has been monitoring the traffic movement entering Canada and expects a moderate restart. It
will continue to monitor the situation to determine whether it will remain open.
“We are open 7 days a week, but the majority of our business is on Sundays and Mondays,” Peace Arch Director of Store Operations Reggie Raju tells TMI.
“The traffic that has come through has mainly been new customers; we have seen very few regulars as of yet.”
Raju is expecting to see more familiar shoppers though. He reports that he has received promising phone calls and emails from regular customers saying they are heading up.
“They are double checking rules on entering Canada as well as asking our hours and specials,” he noted.
In a recent news release, Peace Arch Duty Free Shop president Peter Raju said they are excited to welcome U.S. customers, but are currently operating with a “skeleton staff” while taking a wait-and-see approach to staffing levels as they await news about when Canadians can cross into the States – a move that would increase traffic to the business.
Peace Arch will require all its employees to be fully vaccinated and follow all safety measures.