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US border with Canada and Mexico to remain closed to non-essential travel

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US border with Canada and Mexico to remain closed to non-essential travel

US Canada border
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke

The US-Canada border closure, set to expire today, has been extended until September 21.

Canada’s public safety minister announced the extension last Friday while the US agreed to extend reciprocal restrictions.

As COVID-19 cases in the US continue to rise, the border—which has already been closed for nearly six months—will remain closed to non-essential travellers; essential travel such as cross-border trade is permitted. Some US officials have criticised the move, citing the deep financial impact of the closure on border communities. While tourism has taken a hit on both sides of the border, the hardest-hit Canadian towns seem willing to bear the economic cost to forestall the risk of infection.

Although several countries have started relaxing their travel bans to welcome travellers from select countries in which infection rates are deemed low, Canada’s travel restrictions will likely be sustained as long as the global outbreak remains a threat. Given that the White House unexpectedly slapped a tariff on aluminium imports from Canada earlier this month, Ottawa would likely face a US backlash if it lifts restrictions for some countries while maintaining the closure of the US-Canada border.

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