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Canada grants border exemption for residents of isolated Point Roberts, Wash.

Canada granted a testing exemption to residents of Point Roberts, Washington, which shares its only land border with Canada.

Editor's note: Video originally aired Aug. 24, 2020

Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that residents of Point Roberts, Washington who travel through Canada for essential services will not need COVID-19 testing. 

About 1,300 people live in Point Roberts, which is isolated from the rest of Whatcom County due to unique circumstances. The town is surrounded by water on three sides and shares its only land border with Canada. It takes two Canadian border crossings for Point Roberts residents to be back on Washington state soil.

As of Feb. 15, Canada requires proof of a negative COVID-19 test for visitors arriving by land. Inslee's office challenged the policy and the Consulate General of Canada granted the exemption Wednesday. "Habitual residents" of Point Roberts are exempt from testing in the U.S. and Canada in order to cross the border. 

RELATED: Residents of Point Roberts, Wash. desperate for help as US-Canada border closure stretches on

"Point Roberts residents have had very real concerns about transit ever since the pandemic struck, and this exemption will ease some of the burden," Inslee said. "I want to thank the Canadian government for hearing our request, and to the state's congressional delegation, who continue working on border access issues for Point Roberts residents."

Inslee and several Washington lawmakers have been fighting for Point Roberts residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both of Washington's US Senators and two members of Congress pushed for changes for the isolated town, including border exemptions. 

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