The Canada and United States border is currently staying closed until Oct. 21. (Western News file)

Osoyoos happy to leave border closed

Tourism from B.C. has bolstered the town’s economy over the summer

The Town of Osoyoos is comfortable keeping the border closed as long as necessary.

“We’re quite happy to leave it the way it is,” said mayor Sue McKortoff. “We have been happy all along that the border has been closed, because we do know that there were many more cases than we had in B.C. down in Washington.”

There were some concerns at the start of the year about how Osoyoos, which traditionally draws a substantial influx of tourists from the United States, would fare over the summer.

Those concerns turned out to be unnecessary, with the town having a busy summer even as other communities found their numbers down. Travellers from around the province filled in the void instead, to the point that concern was more for safety than finances.

“I have always been a little concerned over the summer, we were so busy with people in the hotels, that it might get out of hand, might get too much,” said McKortoff. “Fortunately, people were careful, our businesses were careful, and people enjoyed coming here.”

With the border closure currently extended to Oct. 21, and likely through the end of the year, the town is looking to stay busy over the winter season with snowbirds who can’t cross the border.

“You couldn’t find a place in Osoyoos to park an RV or a motorhome, they’re all full,” said McKortoff. “Many of our hotels and motels are full with snowbirds who might have originally gone down to Mexico or the States. We’re very fortunate in Osoyoos.”

The occupancy numbers for the summer support the feeling, with a presentation by Travel Penticton to Penticton’s council pointing to how successful Osoyoos was. Their hotel occupancy dropped by only 0.4 per cent for the month of July from 2019 to 2020.

With the economics less of a concern thanks to the rest of the province visiting over the summer, the border staying closed is more of a safety matter, and one that the mayor feels the town supports.

“It’s something I think were quite happy with, to keep the border systems closed right now,” said McKortoff. “It doesn’t seem to make sense to open them.”

“If the borders were open now, coming into fall and winter, that would mean a lot more people presumably inside, and that’s not what Doctor Henry is advising.”

To report a typo, email:


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

border agency

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Up to 15 centimetres of snow is forecasted in the Okanagan Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. (File photo)
With snow expected, Penticton reminds locals of road clearing procedures

It can take the city up to 48 hours to clear some locations

Neil Fassina will become the new president of Okanagan College on April 1, 2021. (Contributed)
Okanagan College recruits new president

Current Athabasca University president Neil Fassina to replace Jim Hamilton on April 1, 2021

COVID-19. (Courtesy of CDC).
Interior Health reports 12 additional COVID-19 cases

The total number of cases in the region is now at 644

Cheryl McCafferty hands a driver their breakfast during the United Way’s 2020 Drive Thru Breakfast. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
United Way Drive Thru raises $20K so far

Donations still coming in for the local charity

Brian Shiosaki helps his neighbours by shoveling the sidewalk near his home in Rutland during a large snowfall in Kelowna Tuesday. (Carli Berry/Capital News)
Special weather statement in effect for Okanagan Valley

The Okanagan could see up to 15 centimeters of snow on Friday

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. Government photo)
Kelowna Francophone school COVID-19 outbreak climbs to 5, mixture of students and staff

Health officer says situation evolving, spoke to possible closure, changes to provincial guidelines

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Colin James put on a great show at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds as part of the 2019 Vancouver Island MusicFest. But his Okanagan tour for 2020 has been postponed until 2021. (Photo by Terry Farrell)
COVID-19 cancels Corb Lund’s Vernon, Penticton, Trail, Cranbrook concerts

The Contenders, Colin James and Lund postponed until 2021

RCMP detachments across B.C. are now flying Pride flags. (Submitted photo)
Man who spent 4 days injured on floor rescued by Kamloops Mountie

The man is recovering in hospital after being rescued by a police officer conducting a well-being check

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

A fundraiser for the Falkland Community Church is underway. (Photo submitted)
COVID-19 leaves Falkland Church in a lurch

Annual event/major fundraiser cancelled for first time in 34 years

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

Five people with alleged ties to the Red Scorpion Gang are facing numerous charges. (Kelowna RCMP)
5 men linked to Red Scorpion gang charged with gun, drug offences in Kelowna

Police seized a machine gun as well as 5.5 kilograms of fentanyl and carfentanil

Most Read