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Canada-U.S. reach tentative agreement to extend border closure: source

Last Updated Jul 14, 2020 at 8:20 am PDT

Summary

A source says the Canada-U.S. border will remain closed to non-essential traffic for at least another month

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promising to keep Canadians safe and keep economic activity flowing

With more than 3.3 million COVID-19 cases in the U.S., there are calls to keep the Canada-U.S. land border closed

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The Canada-U.S. border is likely to remain closed for the foreseeable future, despite mounting political pressure.

A source has confirmed to 1310 NEWS that both governments have a tentative agreement to extend the ban on non-essential travel until at least August 21, as COVID-19 cases continue to surge south of the border.

To date, the U.S. has reported more than three million COVID-19 infections and seen 134,000 deaths.

Word of an extension comes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a short conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump just a week before the current agreement is set to expire.

The phone call was about trade, tariffs, racism, and the two Canadians detained in China, but with the border shutdown agreement only valid until July 21, Trudeau is promising to both keep Canadians safe and keep economic activity flowing.

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“We recognize that the situation continues to be complex in the United States in regards to COVID-19,” Trudeau said Monday. “Every month we have been able to extend the border closures to all but essential goods and services, and those discussions are ongoing with the United States right now as we are a week from the next deadline for closures.”

The Canada-U.S. border has 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.

However, despite concerns in Canada about the dire situation to the south amid the COVID-19 pandemic, 29 U.S. Congress members signed a letter calling for Ottawa to lay the plan out for reopening.

Trudeau has said the federal government plans to be “very, very careful” in dealing with an increase in cross-border traffic as businesses reopen and restrictions on personal mobility are slowly eased in both countries.

In early July, B.C. Premier John Horgan said the border should remain closed to all non-essential traffic until the U.S. shows it has a handle on the coronavirus crisis.