TORONTO — One of Canada’s highest-profile medical experts throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Dr. Isaac Bogoch, says he wouldn’t be surprised if the Canada-U.S. border stays closed until into 2021.
Interviewed on CBC Radio’s The Current, with a follow-up story at CBC.ca, Dr. Bogoch said the still-rising numbers south of the border call into question any near-future reopening of the border.
Originally closed on March 21, the border is so far scheduled to reopen on July 21, however the reopen date has been pushed back several times already and almost certainly will be again.
“They’re having over 50,000 new cases per day in the country, and on top of that, it doesn’t appear like they are getting this epidemic under control. I can’t think off the top of my head about what a number or a metric would look like, but I can tell you that [reopening the border] is going to be a long, long, long way away,” he told CBC.
Not surprisingly, with the border closure plus all the travel restrictions still in place, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) is reporting drastically reduced numbers of travellers crossing the border, down 95% from the same time last year.
Meanwhile Canada’s Minister of Finance Bill Morneau reiterated this week that the federal government will not be easing restrictions at the border any time soon.
The Canadian Travel & Tourism Roundtable, a coalition of 120+ travel and tourism companies including Canada’s major airlines, last month sent an open letter to the federal government saying it’s #timetotravel and calling for the loosening of travel restrictions, first in Canada and then beyond.
A second open letter was sent by Canada’s airlines and many of Canada’s biggest companies including banks and telecoms.
CATO has also sent a letter, asking for clarity on a way forward for the industry amid the travel advisory and mandatory 14-day quarantine.