The United States have further extended the restrictions on non-essential travel, across it’s northern and southern borders, for another 30 days.
Concerns about the transmissibility of the Delta variant are the main driving force behind the decision, as outlined in the following tweet by the Department of Homeland Security:
To minimize the spread of #COVID19, including the Delta variant, the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel at our land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico through September 21, while continuing to ensure the flow of essential trade and travel.
— Homeland Security (@DHSgov) August 20, 2021
The decision was met by a collective Canadian frustration, made worse by the fact the Canadian border has been open since August 9.
Air travel to the U.S. is allowed, under particular instructions. These include the proof of negative COVID-19 test or proof a traveller has recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau referenced the restrictions extension, stating that there was a significant “asymmetry in the arrangements” between the two nations:
“Canadians unvaccinated or vaccinated have always been able to fly down to Florida or Arizona over Christmas, when we weren’t reciprocating for Americans who wanted to come up to the cottages or for more … in Canada,” he said, noting that the Canadian government is co-ordinating “closely” with the U.S. administration on border issues.
“So, we will work together as much as possible to co-ordinate, make sure things are going well, but every country gets to make its own decisions,” he said.
The criticism is coming from both sides however, with New York Rep. Brian Higgins saying that keeping restrictions in place “harms separated families and hurts opportunities for economic recovery.”
Once again, there is hope that this extension will be the last. However, it still remains to be seen quite how the Delta variant might impact our return to a sense of normality.