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Canada-U.S. land border closure extended until April 21

Last Updated Mar 18, 2021 at 9:23 am PDT

Canada and U.S. flags fly in the wind at the Douglas-Peace Arch border crossing, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, March 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Summary

Canada's public safety minister says decisions to keep land border closed based on 'best public health advice available'

Canada-U.S. land border has been closed to non-essential traffic since March 2020

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The Canada-U.S. land border will remain closed to non-essential traffic for at least another month, with the federal government announcing that restrictions have been extended until April 21.

“We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe from #COVID19,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said in a tweet, confirming the extension.

Measures at Canada’s land crossings were brought in through a mutual agreement with the U.S. in March of last year, as cases of the coronavirus skyrocketed south of the border and as concerns about spread grew.

It’s unclear when the border closure may be lifted, as vaccination efforts continue both in Canada and the U.S. Canada has lagged behind other countries in getting its population inoculated.

Earlier this month, some politicians in B.C. and Washington state were at odds over when the restrictions should be lifted.

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Surrey-White Rock MLA Trevor Halford has said the border needs to be closed until there are “strong vaccination levels over here on the Canadian side” and that the reopening should only take place when there is scientific data supporting the move.

However, Bellingham Coun. Gene Knutson argued if Americans are vaccinated, the borders should be opened.

“Our cases here have fallen quite a bit in our state. I think when we get to the point with having everyone vaccinated by May, I don’t understand why it would still be closed,” he explains.

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has suggested the province will be in a better position in the summer as the vaccine rollout continues.

-With files from Tim James and Kathryn Tindale