Canada is extending the border closure with the U.S. for another month, in a continued effort to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced that the border would remain closed to non-essential travel last week. The closure is being extended from August 21 to September 21. This is now the fifth extension to the travel ban between the two neighbouring countries. In July, Canada also imposed stricter rules for U.S. travellers transiting between Alaska and the contiguous states.
Travellers from the U.S. can only come to Canada for an essential reason. There are some exemptions such as Canadians coming from the U.S., immediate family members of Canadians, and U.S. students in some cases. Temporary workers are allowed to pass through to work in critical infrastructure and support supply chains. It is also still possible to travel to Canada from the U.S. for the purposes of immigration.
However, travel for tourism, recreation, or entertainment is still prohibited. Blair tweeted on Friday, August 14, that “We will continue to do what is necessary to keep our communities safe.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed this sentiment, saying that this step is to “keep people in both our countries safe.”
Update on the Canada-US border: We have agreed to extend the measures in place by another 30 days, until September 21st. We’re taking this step to keep people in both our countries safe – because your health and safety is always our top priority. https://t.co/naYDR55yRa
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) August 14, 2020
A Nanos survey from July suggests most Canadians support keeping the border closed. About 81 per cent said the border should stay closed, the Globe and Mail reports, while 14 per cent said it should open to areas where infection rates are low. Three per cent said the border should open immediately and two per cent said they are unsure.
As of August 17, the U.S. had 5,258,565 total confirmed cases of COVID-19, the most of any country in the world, according to the World Health Organization’s report. Canada, on the other hand, reported 121,652 total confirmed cases.
The Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, Dr. Theresa Tam, told reporters that Canada is in “quite a good position right now.” CBC reported that Tam said Canada has been able to flatten the curve with “aggressive public health measures.”
Even so, a recent survey from Leger found that 61 per cent of Canadians are afraid of contracting COVID-19, which is six per cent more than the week before.
Canada also recently extended its border closure to most foreigners outside of the U.S. until August 31, with exemptions, despite an open letter from international airlines urging the government to ease restrictions to European travellers.
The travel restrictions are reviewed every 30 days. The updated travel restrictions between Canada and the U.S. will be available next month, and the order on foreign travellers outside of the U.S. should be available before the end of August.
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