Travel restrictions keep families separated during the pandemic

In this June 8, 2021, file photo, a car heads into the U.S. from Canada at the Peace Arch...
In this June 8, 2021, file photo, a car heads into the U.S. from Canada at the Peace Arch border crossing in Blaine, Wash. Canada is lifting its prohibition Monday, Aug. 9, on Americans crossing the border to shop, vacation or visit, but the United States is keeping similar restrictions in place for Canadians. The reopening Monday is part of a bumpy return to normalcy from COVID-19 travel bans. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)(AP)
Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 4:51 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - When the pandemic first hit strict travel restrictions were imposed on different countries.

Today, many are still feeling the repercussions of those restrictions.

“For myself, personally, it has been super devastating because I haven’t been able to see my family,” said Shauna Kopren a Canadian citizen with permanent US residency.

Kopren and her family have missed out on many things together over the past year including the birth of her daughter, Blair.

Since March 2020, the northern border has remained closed to Canadians trying to travel to the United States by car.

As a result, Kopren has seen her family just 4 times in over a year and only recently after Canada eased their restrictions was her husband able to make the trip with her.

“You know, it’s just amazing to be able to get to go home with everyone. I got to meet my niece for the first time. And my husband got to meet, well, it’s been since Blair was born that my husband was able to see my family which was really hard,” said Kopren.

It’s normally only a 6 hour drive for her family to visit from Canada to South Dakota, but as of now, Canadians are only able to visit the US by plane.

“My parents would have to spend, you know between the two of them, $1,800 to fly for 14 hours across two countries just so they could fly into Rapid City and it was just never worth it.”

As of now, Kopren finds comfort online where she discovered a Facebook page and eventually a website called “Let Us Reunite” which shows highlights of people experiencing similar issues.”

“Because we all went through, or are going through, similar things you just don’t feel as alone. It’s just been really, really hard. Probably the hardest thing I think I’ve ever had to go through. It’s basically a year out of our lives that we don’t get to have back,” said Kopren.

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