May 21, 2020 -- In accordance with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' recommendations designed to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will not be accepting cash payment for any vehicles conducting essential travel via the eastbound Blue Water Bridge (BWB) to Canada. All commercial traffic will need to pay by prepaid commuter account cards or debit/credit forms of payment. MDOT encourages any commercial travelers who wish to apply for the prepaid commercial account to visit www.federalbridge.ca and complete the application.
The Federal Bridge Corporation Limited (FBCL) and the MDOT BWB operations suspended all private passenger vehicle cash transactions effective March 18 for their westbound BWB crossing. In order to continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19 disease, MDOT's BWB added further restrictions on forms of payment and has not accepted cash payments for any toll crossing since March 26. Reducing person-to-person contact via cash exchange will help to reduce exposure to contagion.
In accordance with orders from the United States and Canadian federal authorities, temporary travel restrictions on all land ports of entry and ferries between the U.S. and Canada are expected to remain in effect through June 21.
Border protection agencies from both nations remain committed to supporting safe travel for essential customers and commercial truck traffic. The agencies and bridge administrations will follow all federal guidelines intended to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
A reminder, at this time U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has suspended normal operations at U.S.-Canada land ports of entry and is only processing travelers engaged in essential travel. The trade of legitimate goods has not been interrupted.
According to the CBP, some cases of essential travel include:
- U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the U.S.
- Those traveling for medical purposes.
- Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions.
- Individuals traveling to work in the U.S. (including those working in the farming or agriculture industries who must travel between the U.S. and Canada for work).
- Those traveling for emergency response and public health purposes.
- Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (such as truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the U.S. and Canada).
- Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel.
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, their spouses or children returning to the U.S.
- Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.
Individuals traveling for tourism purposes like sightseeing, recreation, gambling, or attending cultural events are not considered essential travelers.
Detailed information on restrictions to entry into the U.S. is available from CBP here. Official guidance on restrictions to entry into Canada is still forthcoming and expected to be similar. For more information regarding the essential travel definitions or travel restrictions, contact the CBP or CBSA.
Blue Water Bridge continuing work to "flatten the curve" amid nationwide COVID-19 outbreak
Why is the Blue Water Bridge (BWB) eliminating all vehicles from cash payment amid the COVID-19 outbreak?
Reducing the exchange of cash may help to protect BWB toll operators as well as the customers they service. Paying with cash and requiring change being handed back to a customer creates additional contact points that are unnecessary as we work to practice social distancing.
What can customers do to reduce their risk while exchanging payment at a bridge crossing?
In accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, customers are also encouraged to increase their hand washing and avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth. Additionally, we ask commuters to use hand sanitizer prior to providing their card to the toll collector for processing. It is also recommended to regularly clean the payment card to reduce contagion from spreading during exchange of card payment.
What can customers do if they reach the toll booth and do not have a credit/debit card?
The move to eliminate cash is a precautionary measure to reduce person-to-person contact and is not intended to completely eliminate essential travel. However, customers who attempt to pay a toll with cash will be prohibited from using the eastbound BWB crossing.
Who can customers direct questions to?
Questions can be directed to the BWB at 810-984-3131 or visit the BWB website at www.Michigan.gov/BlueWaterBridge.
Where can we find more information about the COVID-19 outbreak and managing the spread?
For current and up-to-date information regarding the coronavirus, visit http://www.Michigan.gov/Coronavirus or http://www.CDC.gov/Coronavirus.