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Kalispell Chamber of Commerce reacts to Canada border closure

Posted at 2:07 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 10:51:34-04

KALISPELL — It was announced earlier this week that the border with Canada will be closed to travelers -- a development that could impact businesses in Northwest Montana.

Kalispell Chamber of Commerce predient Joe Unterreiner says that this is the first time in his tenure at the chamber, this has ever happened. But he doesn't think, just the lack of Canadian tourists will effect local businesses.

He told MTN News that he thinks the fear of coronavirus and maintaining social distancing will impact businesses more.

"When exchange rates were really favorable for the Canadians, in the early part of this decade, so 2010, 2011, and 2012, they were a huge part of sustaining our economy," explained Unterreiner. "And we're not seeing that flip in exchange rate. So, we love and appreciate our neighbors to the North."

Unterreiner added that the Chamber has tons of resources for local businesses.

Flathead County health officer Hillary Hanson adds there are ways people can still support local businesses, "what we're hoping folks will do is utilize other mechanisms from those businesses. Take out, delivery, buying gift cards."

Unterreiner says the chamber has an entire coronavirus action plan, with suggestions, like how to proceed if an employee of yours contracts the virus and how to properly sterilize your business. Click here to view the plan.