A late-afternoon look across a desolate Ferry Point International Bridge last Monday. The bridge into Canada reopened on Aug. 9 to fully-vaccinated Americans who provide negative COVID test results; however, the U.S. government did not reciprocate, citing the potential spread of COVID-19 and the delta variant as its reason to continue the halt of non-essential traffic into the U.S. (Photo by Jayna Smith)

U.S. Extends Border Restrictions to Sept. 21

Jayna Smith
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The United States has again extended the border closure with Canada for all but essential traffic.  The closure has been extended every month since March 2020 to help slow the spread of COVID-19, and now has been prolonged to Sept. 21.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) tweeted on Friday, “In coordination with public health and medical experts, DHS continues working closely with its partners across the United States and internationally to determine how to safely and sustainably resume normal travel.”
The announcement came just 11 days after Canada loosened its travel restrictions on Aug. 9, allowing fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents to enter with a negative COVID-19 test.  It was hoped by many that the U.S. would reciprocate.
U.S. Senator Susan Collins, who throughout the pandemic shared her frustration with the border closure and urged both the Trump Administration and now the Biden administration, to open the border with Canada, took to social media after the announcement.
“Today’s announcement by our government is another frustrating delay for Maine families and small business owners who had hoped the United States would mirror Canada’s reopening of its border to Americans so that Canadians could visit the United States.  This protracted closure has prevented Canadian relatives from attending holiday and other milestone family events in the U.S., and it has harmed Maine small businesses who depend on Canadian customers and tourists,” Collins posted.
She went on further, “I have repeatedly pushed to ease travel restrictions for individuals on both sides of the border who have been fully vaccinated.  Canadian officials began allowing fully vaccinated Americans to enter their country earlier this month.  The U.S. should reciprocate with similar requirements and safeguards.”
As of Friday, Aug. 20, according to data from John Hopkins University, the U.S. had reported more than 3 million COVID-19 cases over the last 28 days, compared to fewer than 40,000 cases in Canada over the last 28 days.  
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that the delta variant accounts for 93 percent of new cases in the United States.


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