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NEW YORK STATE

U.S. side of Canadian border to remain largely closed through Sept. 21

  • Updated
Canada travel

Cars line up to enter Canada at the Thousand Islands border checkpoint.

WASHINGTON – Most Canadians will continue to be barred from crossing the United States land border for another month, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Friday, even though the Canadian side of the border opened to vaccinated Americans last week.

"To minimize the spread of #COVID19, including the Delta variant, the United States is extending restrictions on nonessential travel at our land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico through September 21, while continuing to ensure the flow of essential trade and travel," the Department of Homeland Security said in announcing the move on Twitter.

The ban on nonessential travel by land from Canada and Mexico had been scheduled to expire Saturday. The decision to extend the ban has been extended on a monthly basis since it was first imposed near the start of the Covid-19 pandemic on March 21, 2020.

The Canadian government has taken a different approach, reopening its side of the land border on Aug. 9 to vaccinated Americans who can show that they have tested negative for the virus within 72 hours prior to their arrival in Canada. That reopening proved to be relatively painless, with many vaccinated Americans able to cross into Canada without significant delays.

And while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other Canadian officials have openly discussed that nation's border policy for months, the Biden administration has been largely silent, except for tweets such as the one announcing the latest extension and more formal statements in the Federal Register.

That frustrates Rep. Brian Higgins, a Buffalo Democrat who co-chairs the House Northern Border Caucus and who has been pushing for months to fully reopen the border.

“The U.S.-Canadian relationship is integral for our economies and life quality," Higgins said in a statement. "The failure to make opening the border the priority that it should be is a huge mistake. There has not been enough attention placed on the value and opportunity that comes with restoring connections between our two nations. It is beyond disappointing; it is hurtful both at a human and economic level.”

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