U.S. to reopen border with Canada to fully vaccinated Canadians in November

The United States is preparing to reopen its land border to fully vaccinated Canadians in early November, several U.S. lawmakers said.

Also, a source in the Canadian government said Ottawa has been informed an official announcement is coming Wednesday. The Globe and Mail has granted the source anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer told the Buffalo News Tuesday of the decision.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, members of our shared cross-border community have felt the pain and economic hardship of the land border closures,” Mr. Schumer, a New York Democrat, told the newspaper. “That pain is about to end. Very soon, the link between New York and our northern neighbors will finally be re-established, reuniting families, bolstering businesses and ending a frustrating cycle of waiting for everyone involved.”

Rep. Brian Higgins, a Congressman whose district includes the U.S. border city of Buffalo, announced the news on his Twitter account Tuesday evening.

“At long last there is action by the United States to open the doors and welcome back our Canadian neighbours,” Mr. Higgins said in a statement.

The Congressman told the Buffalo News he received word of the pending reopening from Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator.

Mr. Higgins said the news will be a shot in the arm for border communities that depend on non-essential travel. ”The sigh of relief coming from northern border communities following this announcement is so loud it can practically be heard on either end of the Peace Bridge,” he said, referring to a key span connecting New York and Ontario.

Canada and the United States agreed to close the Canada-U.S border to non-essential travel in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic was spreading.

The Canadian government already opened the border to fully-vaccinated Americans on August 9. Americans are required to provide proof of vaccination before entering Canada.

Christopher Sands, director of the Canada Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, questioned whether this will end up being a durable re-opening given the ongoing pandemic.

The average daily rate of new COVID-19 cases has recently declined in many parts of the United States and Canada but the coming colder winter weather will drive more people indoors and likely cause COVID infection rates to rise.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce president Perrin Beatty on his Twitter account said it will be important to see the details of the expected U.S. border announcement including whether Canadians who received mixed vaccine doses – such as one shot of AstraZeneca and one short of Moderna – will be accepted by American customs officials.



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