ELLICOTVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — On Saturday, Oct. 1, changes of going through customs to get into Canada will occur. Canada has officially dropped their COVID-19 restrictions for the first time in over two years, and the ArriveCan app can now be deleted.

“I think this is a great step in the right direction,” said Robert Restaino, Mayor of Niagara Falls, NY. “I think we’ll see things start to really swell again as they used to.”

Though the requirements to get into Canada have been dropped, the U.S. side is still requiring all foreign travelers, including Canadians, to show proof of vaccination to cross the border. Mayor Restaino believes it’s time for us to get rid of that requirement.

“You know the border towns like Niagara Falls, we’re the ones that are lagging behind because of all of these restrictions that have been, so I think it’s time to lift them all,” said Restaino.

Restaino believes these border restrictions mean much more than just to help the economies, but it will also help connect those who have been separated for years.

“I myself have family in Canada, and it’s been a couple of years–two years- since we’ve been with them,” said Restaino. “Whether it’s weddings, funerals, all of those kind of things that we typically are able to enjoy with them; quite frankly it’s been sad for us.”

And these restrictions are dropping faster than the leaves, just in time for Ellicottville’s Fall Fest.

The Marketing Director of Holiday Valley, Dash Hegeman, is expecting larger crowds this year, due to the drop of the COVID restrictions.

“We’re excited about it, we love it when they come to the village of Ellicottville, come to Holiday Valley–it makes it feel more like a normal Ellicottville, we’re really stoked about it,” said Hegeman. “Prior to COVID they absolutely loved Ellicottville and I think there’s a lot of pent up energy to that.”

Hegeman grew up in Ellicottville and says he’s seen Canadians come to town all throughout his life, and he’s excited to have his friendly neighbors back.

Holiday Valley saw an uptick in Canadians hitting the slopes last year, as restrictions started to lift. He hopes they’ll be back in full force this year for the winter.

If interested in traveling out to Holiday Valley click here, and visiting Ellicottville’s Fall Festival click here.

For more information regarding the COVID protocols at the U.S. border, click here.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.