TORONTO — Few expected the U.S. to reopen its side of the Canada-U.S. border by Aug. 21 but the news that the closure will be extended yet again nevertheless comes as a blow to Canadians eyeing a trip south – and to travel retailers and suppliers who sell U.S. product.
“To minimize the spread of COVID-19, including the Delta variant, the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel at our land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico until September 21, while continuing to ensure the flow of essential trade and travel,” said the Department of Homeland Security earlier today.
Earlier this month there were reports that the Biden administration is working on a phased plan that would only permit entry to foreign travellers who are fully vaccinated.
On Aug. 9 Canada reopened its side of the border to fully vaccinated American travellers. The border will further reopen to fully vaccinated travellers from any country effective Sept. 7.
The U.S. border has been closed to all non-essential travel since March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the most vocal proponents over the past many months for reopening the border has been New York congressman Brian Higgins, who serves as co-chair of both the Northern Border Caucus and the Canada – U.S. Interparliamentary Group.
Higgins posted this statement today: “The U.S. – Canadian relationship is integral for our economies and life-quality. The failure to make opening the border the priority that it should be is a huge mistake.
“There has not been enough attention placed on the value and opportunity that comes with restoring connections between our two nations.
“It is beyond disappointing; it is hurtful both at a human and economic level.”