Finally, it seems there is a light at the end of the tunnel surrounding the border closure—or reopening—with Canada. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week the border could open by mid-August to Americans fully-vaccinated against COVID-19, then on Monday, July 19, his administration provided an Aug. 9, 2021 date for reopening.
Trudeau’s office issued a readout of a call with provincial leaders last week, which noted the current vaccination rates and COVID-19 trends to be on “a positive path.” If those continue, the readout noted, “Canada would be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travellers from all countries by early September.” A date of Sept.7 has since been determined for when fully vaccinated travelers from other parts of the world can enter Canada.
The border has been closed to all but essential traffic since March 2020 in an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19. All the while, U.S. lawmakers have been pushing for the border with Canada to be reopened, noting not only the stress on families in border towns, but also citing the economic impact of commerce. The U.S. Travel Association has estimated that each month the border is closed, it costs $1.5 billion in economic impact.
Sen. Marianne Moore (R-Washington) is one those lawmakers who had expressed the need for border restrictions to be eased to former President Trump, as well as to U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King. “The border closure continues to be so critical both for families and local businesses,” she told The Calais Advertiser last March, at the one-year mark of the closure.
Over the weekend, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesperson told The Calais Advertiser, “To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the United States extended restrictions on non-essential travel at our land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico through July 21, while ensuring access for essential trade and travel.”
He added, “DHS also notes positive developments in recent weeks and is participating with other U.S. agencies in the White House’s expert working groups with Canada and Mexico to identify the conditions under which restrictions may be eased safely and sustainably.”
Requirements to Enter Canada: On Aug. 9, American travelers can enter Canada for nonessential purposes, pending they have received their full series of a Health Canada-approved vaccine at least 14 days prior to their arrival. Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are among those approved.
Travelers are also required to upload COVID-19-related information, including proof of vaccination, through the ArriveCan app or web portal before departure to Canada, as well as be asymptomatic upon arrival. All travelers, regardless of vaccination status, will still require a pre-entry COVID-19 molecular test result. Additionally, a new border program will randomly select people to complete a COVID-19 test the day of their arrival. Additionally, a new border program will randomly select people to complete a COVID-19 test the day of their arrival.
As for children who are not vaccinated, but who are traveling with vaccinated parents, they will not have to quarantine, but will be required to avoid group settings during their first two weeks in Canada and also complete tests on the first and eighth days after entering.
Just over 80 percent of eligible Canadians have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. At least 58 percent of those eligible are fully vaccinated. In the United States, about 65 percent have received at least one dose of a vaccine, while about 49 percent are fully vaccinated.