The long-awaited end to land border restrictions between the United States and Canada has arrived, and it’s just around the corner.
After the COVID-19 pandemic imposed a historic 16-month ban that many businesses said was strangling them, Canada announced on Monday that it would begin allowing fully vaccinated U.S. tourists into the country from Aug. 9.
In addition, beginning Sept. 7, vaccinated visitors from countries other than the United States will be allowed to enter. Officials stated the relaxation is based on Canada’s COVID-19 rates being favorable.
“Thanks to the rising vaccination rates and declining COVID-19 cases, we are able to move forward with adjusted border measures,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference in Brampton, Ontario.
Government officials stated 50% of Canadians are fully vaccinated, and 75% have received one shot.
According to a report in the Washington Post on Monday, July 19, the Canadian government declared that fully vaccinated American travelers and permanent residents would be able to cross the border beginning on Aug. 9. The decision will end 16 months of border restrictions that only permitted essential workers to access the two countries. Communities on both sides of the border struggled financially during that time.
The region’s federal lawmakers were unanimous in their support for reopening the borders and resuming trade, which is critical to border towns’ survival.
“The light at the end of the tunnel appears to be closer, and after more than 16 long, arduous months, it is long past the time for these punitive restrictions to meet their end,” said Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-Minn.)
“Not only has the prolonged border closure affected the ability of Americans to travel, they have also impeded the ability of Americans to earn a living. The closure of the northern border has been particularly devastating for Minnesotans living in the Northwest Angle, and I am committed to doing all that I can to help their recovery,” she added.
The Angle is surrounded by Canada and can only be reached by boat from the United States or by driving through Manitoba. However, residents of the Angle have been able to access their homes, although some restrictions apply, such as producing documentation of a negative COVID-19 test. The lack of tourists and visitors, on the other hand, wreaked havoc on the local economy.
Fischbach and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) have also spoken out in favor of removing restrictions.
“This is great news and will help connect loved ones and alleviate the burden on so many businesses on our border that have been suffering,” stated Klobuchar. “I have long worked with both Canadian and U.S. officials to make this happen, and it will now be easier to see family and friends, and allow businesses to get goods to market.”
“As Canada moves from recovery into growth, having workable border measures for fully vaccinated travelers is critical for Canadian businesses,” said Perrin Beatty, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
Until now, the border restrictions between the United States and Canada had been extended month by month.
People who want to come to Canada must be wholly vaccinated at least 14 days before they arrive. If traveling with their vaccinated parents, children under 12 will not be required to quarantine.
On Aug. 9, some restrictions will remain in effect. For example, within 72 hours of arriving at a land crossing or flight departure, fully vaccinated Americans must provide a negative COVID-19 molecular test. Travelers must also use ArriveCAN, a Canadian government smartphone app, to upload proof of vaccination.