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U.S.-Canada border to remain closed another month

Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 12:31 PM EDT
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TORONTO (AP) - Canada’s public safety minister says border restrictions on nonessential travel with the United States will be extended until July 21.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair tweeted the move has been made in coordination with the U.S. He says Canada’s number one priority is to keep Canadians safe during the pandemic.

Blair also notes the government plans to release details on Monday about fully vaccinated Canadians who return to the country.

The Canadian government has said it anticipates fully vaccinated Canadian citizens who test negative for COVID-19 will be exempt from two weeks quarantine when returning to the country sometime in early July.

In the meantime, north country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik takes the Biden Administration to task for the decision.

“Extending the travel restrictions for yet another month, despite the tremendous progress the U.S. has made in fully vaccinating Americans and safely reopening, is absolutely unacceptable to the families, businesses, and communities along the northern border,” she said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Stefanik sent a letter urging the Department of Homeland Security to unilaterally ease restrictions for non-essential travel across the border if an agreement with Canada could not be reached by the time current restrictions end on June 21.

Lauren Garlock, executive director of the Alexandria Bay Chamber of Commerce is among those who are disappointed by the news.

“I think we were all hoping the restrictions would be lifted. I mean, we’re definitely ready to have our Canadian visitors back. Our bread and butter is really between Memorial Day weekend and Columbus Day weekend, so this is our peak time. So, if the border is going to reopen, this is the time for us to really profit off of that,” she said.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D. - NY) released the following statement:

“Instead of endless delays and confusion, we need a concrete plan, based on science and facts, to reopen the northern border for vaccinated individuals. I’ll continue to work with stakeholders on both sides of the border and won’t rest until the norther border is safely and effectively opened for vaccinated New Yorkers.”

The border was closed to non-essential travel in March 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The travel ban has been renewed monthly since then.

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