OTTAWA – Any trips you have planned to the U.S. will have to be delayed a little longer. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says current restrictions, which were brought in to help slow the spread of COVID-19, will be extended another 30 days to July 21.
“This is an important decision that will keep people in both of our countries safe,” Trudeau said Tuesday.
The Canada-U.S. border was first closed to all non-essential traffic in March. Since that time, some exemptions have been brought in.
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) June 16, 2020
Essential workers as well as the transport of goods have always been exempt, however, the government recently announced a loosening of restrictions to allow some families to reunite.
Rules still require all travellers entering Canada to self-isolate for two weeks in an effort to reduce the transmission of the novel coronavirus.
“If you don’t follow these rules, you could face serious penalties,” Trudeau said earlier this month.
Canadians always have the right to return to Canada from abroad, however, many families had been divided by the border closure due to citizenship status.
“That’s why we’re bringing in a limited exemption to allow immediate family members of citizens or permanent residents to come to Canada,” the prime minister said on June 8.
Concerns over border reopening
People exploiting a loophole to get across the border into Canada isn’t the only concern that’s been floated.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix has been dead set against reopening the land crossings due to rising case numbers in states close to B.C. and along the west coast.
“In Washington, in Oregon, in California, in Arizona, in Nevada –states where there are many reciprocal relationships, or where people from B.C. go frequently— there are significant upticks, actual upticks in the month of June,” he said earlier this month.
Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry has also reiterated the concerns that come with cross-border travel.
“We had an increase, a steady and rapid rise in the Washington State-like virus strains that we were detecting and that was really reflected in people coming in from Washington State, or us going back and forth across the border and bringing the virus back, and then it seeding outbreaks in our community and in our long term care homes,” Henry said when B.C. released its latest modelling data on June 4.
–With files from Mike Hall, Liza Yuzda and Marcella Bernardo