The Canada-U.S. border will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least September 21. All non-essential travel to Canada from outside the U.S. is prohibited until August 31, however, these restrictions may be extended further.
Originally implemented in March, the unprecedented travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada have been extended multiple times and were set to expire on August 21. This latest extension will prohibit non-essential cross-border travel between the two countries for at least another month.
Tensions high between the U.S. and Canada over coronavirus
Tensions are high between Canada and the U.S. as both countries struggle to contain the covid-19 pandemic. Canada, for the most part, has been successful in flattening the curve of covid-19 infections. America, on the other hand, has seen surging infection rates in parts of the country and a fractured response to the pandemic. There is also a notable lack of federal leadership in the U.S. to the outbreaks occurring in parts of the country thus far.
Many Canadians feel that our success in containing the coronavirus could be in jeopardy if we reopen the border with the U.S. to soon.
“We want to keep up our good work and, as you’ve seen from the map, Canada is actually in quite a good position right now,” Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer of Canada, told reporters Friday.
Who can enter at the Canada-U.S. border?
Goods and services, Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and the immediate family of Canadians are allowed to cross the border from the U.S. into Canada.
For temporary visa holders, conditions vary. Most work permit holders and essential workers in the healthcare field are permitted entry to Canada. International students who must be present in Canada to resume their studies may also cross at the U.S.-Canada border.
For American residents who do not hold work or study permits in Canada, only the Alaska loophole remains to cross the U.S.-Canada land border. The Alaska loophole allows Americans wishing to drive to Alaska the ability to cross the Canadian border to reach their destination. The rules to allow American’s road access to Alaska via Canada have been tightened in response to concerns that some travellers were not adhering to social distancing and using the loophole as a way to gain access to Canada for the purpose of tourism.
When will the Canada-U.S. border reopen?
The decision to prohibit non-essential travel at the Canada-U.S. border is evaluated monthly. Computer models, and a host of other factors like infection rates in both respective countries, are considered and Canadian and American health officials are in constant communication.
Many Canadian border communities depend on tourism revenue from the U.S. to keep their economies afloat. Some communities are advocating for a relaxation of the regulations barring non-essential travel at the border but according to a poll by Ipsos-Reid, 85% of Canadians would like to see the border closed until the end of 2020.
Ultimately, Canada’s decision on whether the border will reopen in September largely depends on how well the U.S. works to contain the surging outbreaks across the country.