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U.S.-Canada border temporarily closed to 'non-essential traffic' amid virus pandemic

Last Updated Mar 18, 2020 at 10:02 am PDT

Summary

Non-essential travel across the U.S.-Canada border will soon come to a halt amid the COVID-19 pandemic

President Donald Trump announced via Twitter Wednesday both countries have come to a mutual agreement

Canada and the U.S. were reportedly discussing which essential workers would be exempt from the ban

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – You soon won’t be able to hop across the border for anything deemed “non-essential” because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday Canada and the U.S. have mutually agreed to temporarily close the border to non-essential travel.

“In both our countries, we’re encouraging people to stay home,” he said outside his home as he continues to self-isolate. “We’re telling our citizens not to visit their neighbours if they don’t absolutely have to. Well this, collaborative and reciprocal measure is an extension of that prudent approach.”

The ban will apply to recreational and tourism-related travel.

WATCH: Canada-US border being closed to non-essential travel, says Trudeau

Trudeau noted trade and commerce would not be stopped, and that groceries and medicine would still be able to travel between the two nations, as would truck drivers transporting goods for our supply chains. Canadians and Americans who cross the border for essential work or other “urgent reasons” will also be exempt.

Trudeau said the border would be closed “very soon” and that more details would be announced but did not give a specific date or time.

President Donald Trump first announced the ban on Twitter earlier in the day, reiterating that trade between Canada and the U.S. would not be affected.

Ottawa and Washington had been working on a deal to ban non-essential travel between the two countries in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

This came after Canada announced earlier this week that non-citizens and non-residents of Canada would not be allowed to enter the country as part of efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19, however, the federal government had said U.S. citizens and some other individuals would be exempt.

Limiting non-essential travel at border crossings is something both B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and B.C.’s health minister Adrian Dix had been calling for.

“I don’t think either of us think that we should be closing the border to U.S. citizens blanket. We have an interconnected economy, we have interconnected essential services and goods that move across our borders all the time,” said Henry on Tuesday during her regular COVID-19 update.

-With files from The Canadian Press