WELLESLEY ISLAND, N.Y. (WWTI) — It’s the calm before the storm.
Thanksgiving travel along the Northern Border is expected to be back to normal this year as all COVID-19 travel requirements were lifted earlier this year.
Alexandria Bay Port of Entry Assistant Director Kurt Tennant said that traffic will likely pick up days before the Thanksgiving holiday and it’s going to be all hands on deck.
“We try to staff up our lanes during the peak traffic times and with our new facility that we have now we can open up more lanes. We’ve got a lot more flexibility,” Tennant said.
The new Port of Entry has seven lanes for vehicle traffic and an additional seven lanes on the commercial side of the facility that are dual-use, meaning they can be opened up to both vehicle and commercial traffic on an as-needed basis.
Tennant said he expects the holiday work to pick up days ahead of Thanksgiving as the Port has seen a steady increase in traffic in the past year.
“For us, traffic starts to pick up around Tuesday and obviously people coming over for the Thursday holiday, we get a lot of people Wednesday night,” Tennant said.
He said they usually see the heaviest traffic for Black Friday.
“At 4:00 in the morning people will start rolling up, even before that, trying to get down to Watertown to the stores down there, so it can be a very, very busy morning,” he said.
One of the main concerns during the holiday season is the items travelers attempt to bring with them across the Border.
Supervisor Douglas Granie, who works within the Agriculture Inspection side of the Port, explained that all meat, meat products and vegetables are subject to inspection. He added that certain items in particular are banned due to disease concerns.
“Recently Ontario has had an outbreak of the Bird Flu,” Granie explained. “So meat, poultry products, including duck, turkey, a big one this time of year, chicken and actually uncooked eggs, raw eggs, are not allowed in.”
Travelers should also avoid transporting any livestock, anything containing meat products, rice, imported foods, plants and seeds. Marijuana is also banned at the border.
However, one thing to ensure you have when traveling are required documents, such as a passport.
A full list of border crossing requirements can be found on the Customs and Border Protection website.