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Canada-U.S. border closure extended to June 21 amid coronavirus crisis

Last Updated May 19, 2020 at 5:57 pm PDT

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke

Canada-U.S. border restrictions have been extended at least another month

The new agreement between Canada and the U.S. means restrictions will be in place until June 21

Travel is currently restricted to essential traffic across the border

OTTAWA – Canada-U.S. border restrictions have been extended by at least another month amid the COVID-19 pandemic to June 21.

The previous agreement set to expire in just a few days.

“This is an important decision that will keep people in both of our countries safe,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.

When asked how long the international border would be closed for, Trudeau said decisions are being made on a weekly basis as the health crisis continues to evolve.

This is the second time the Canadian and U.S. governments have extended border measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“The situation is changing rapidly and we’re adjusting constantly to what is the right measures for Canadians to get that balance right between keeping people safe and restoring a semblance of normality and economic activity that we all rely on,” the prime minister explained. “It was the right thing to further extend by 30 days our closure of the Canada-U.S. border to travellers other than essential services and goods, but we will continue to watch carefully what’s happening elsewhere in the world and around us as we make decisions on next steps.”

Crossings have been closed to all non-essential travel since March 21. Truck drivers, Canadians and Americans who cross the border for essential work or other “urgent” reasons, as well as some others are exempt from the closure.

Trudeau also announced an expansion of the Canada Emergency Business Account during his daily briefing.

“If you are the sole operator of a business, if your business relies on contractors, or if you have a family-owned business and you pay employees through dividends, you will now qualify,” he said.

That means hair salon owners who contract out chairs to stylists and physiotherapists who rent out space to others can now get access to the funding, which is aimed at helping businesses struggling amid the pandemic.