As questions arise about reopening the U.S and Canada border, Justin Trudeau states the border could reopen in weeks, not months.
There have been rumors that the Canadian Prime Minister would reopen the border in June, but that didn’t happen. In recent days, Ottawa announced it would allow vaccinated Canadian travelers to return without quarantine, but travelers still need COVID-19 tests.
The Canadian government claims this is the first phase of a gradual lifting of border restrictions.
The Statement From The Canadian Prime Minister
At an Ottawa press conference on Tuesday, Justin Trudeau stated, “We are doing things gradually, but we are talking about weeks and not months anymore. We certainly hope we will have good news about reopenings in the coming weeks.”
Unfortunately, he did not give a specific date on the border opening. The authorities decided to keep the border closed for another month last week. They claimed the government had not vaccinated enough people yet.
For countless months, the Canadian authorities have set a target of vaccinating 75% of the population before opening the border. Canada didn’t meet that target on June 21st. As of today, Canada has vaccinated 66.379% of its people, with an additional 21.698% of fully vaccinated people.
Canada has vaccinated 33,584,667 people since the vaccine rollout began, and it’s now moving through the younger age groups.
The Reaction To The Continued Border Closure
Although the Canadian government closed the border, the decision has not come without pressure. There is growing frustration and pressure from both sides as it seems like another summer of border closures is on the horizon.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce CEO, Perrin Beatty, questioned why there are different rules for Canadian travelers entering and foreign travelers entering Canada.
He also stated, “The fact that it is far easier for Canadians to fly to Paris than it is to drive to Buffalo demonstrates how illogical the present policy is.” There was also anger from various senators on the U.S. side of the border.
The Current Restrictions
The two governments agreed to close the border in March 2020, when the pandemic first began, and the two governments have closed the border ever since. You’re only allowed to cross the border for special reasons, and the countries have effectively banned all non-essential travel.
Since March 2020, both nations have agreed to extend the border closure every month. As a result, the border closure has kept families apart, devastated tourism, and caused immense difficulty to border towns.
When President Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau met at the G7 in England earlier this month, they discussed reopening the border. The U.S. government claims it will create expert working groups to reopen the border for non-essential travel.
The COVID-19 Situation In The Two Countries
The rates of COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates continue to drop throughout the U.S. and Canada. For example, Canada has brought cases down from 8,000 per day in May to an average of under 1,000 this month. The U.S. has also significantly dropped its COVID-19 case rates in the previous six months.
Therefore, the question remains – as both countries beat the pandemic, when will the borders finally open?
At this rate, it looks like the border may close for the entire summer, and that will cause continued massive economic harm. Europe has already opened up to U.S. and Canadian travelers, yet the border between the two countries remains shut.
The Canadian Prime Minister has rarely given any time scales on the border reopening, so this is a step in the right direction.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com