As regions begin to slowly reopen from widespread shutdowns in March, we urge the U.S. and Canadian governments to come up with a plan for allowing a greater reopening of border crossings and to keep the public up to date on when that will happen.
It is understandable that the border was closed to all but essential travel because of COVID-19, but people wishing to visit extended family members or just travel for pleasure have been in a holding pattern for months.
The United States and Canada agreed to the latest extension of restrictions to keep borders closed to non-essential travel just two weeks before the previous order would have expired. July 21 is now the earliest the restrictions might be taken down.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump have both said that there has been talk about how to proceed, but the public has been given no real update, and some families living along the border have expressed frustration at not being able to freely visit their relatives.
U.S. Reps. Brian Higgins and Elise Stefanik, who serve as co-chairs of the Northern Border Caucus in the House of Representatives, recently asked both countries to develop some guidance and provide clear direction on a plan to reopen the border.
The coronavirus remains a cause for concern, and keeping it from spreading is a priority for both the United States and Canada, but New York's congressional representatives are correct that a one-size-fits-all closure doesn't take the concerns of specific regions into account, and people should not be left to simply wait and wonder what the eventual plan for reopening might be.
The Citizen editorial board includes publisher Michelle Bowers, executive editor Jeremy Boyer and managing editor Mike Dowd.
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