In a presumably expected continuation of events, the US has extended their land border closure for non-essential travel with Canada and Mexico for an additional 30 days, which is now set to go through January 21st of the coming year.
The restrictions, however, do not apply correspondingly to other forms of travel, such as air and sea.
Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, made the announcement via twitter, stating:
“In order to continue to prevent the spread of COVID, the US, Mexico, & Canada will extend the restrictions on non-essential travel through Jan. 21. We are working closely with Mexico & Canada to keep essential trade & travel open while also protecting our citizens from the virus.”
The announcement comes as all three nations are experiencing distresses from the global pandemic.
Canada is currently on track to reach half a million COVID-19 cases and 15,000 deaths by Christmas day. Meanwhile, the US recently surpassed 15 million cases, and Mexico has exceeded one million cases.
Borders Closed Since March
The initial border closure between the continental neighbours was implemented in March of this year, when the pandemic had gained global notoriety.
The March closure was set to last a period of 30 days, with the nations having the option to extend the agreement for an additional 30 days at the time of expiry. The extension has continued each month since.
The border closure only affects non-essential travel. According to the Department of Homeland Security, non-essential travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.
The land borders remain open for essential purposes, which include essential work, health, and emergency reasons.
A caveat of the border closure is that it applies to land borders only, signifying you cannot cross the borders by land. Travel by air and sea, even for non-essential purposes, is open between the US and Mexico.
The US is reportedly still allowing Canadians to travel into the country by air, even if they are visiting for leisure purposes. In disparity, Canada is not affording Americans with this same privilege.
Americans Still Vacationing in Mexico
Despite the land border closure since March, many Americans have been visiting Mexico. In fact, Mexico was the most popular country for US tourists in 2020.
In addition to keeping air travel open for Americans, Mexico has relatively relaxed entry requirements, by not requiring a negative COVID-19 test or a mandatory quarantine.
In spite of keeping air travel open, the US is urging its citizens to avoid all forms of travel to Mexico.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently issued a warning for travel to Mexico, placing the country at a “Level 4: Very High” risk.
For those looking to travel nonetheless, the CDC is recommending testing before and after travel.
Closure Likely to Continue Until Vaccine Rollout
While the most recent closure is set to expire on January 21st, the trend would indicate that there is no guarantee that it will in fact expire at that time.
The decision for further extensions in the closure will most likely come from President-Elect Joe Biden’s administration. At this time, it appears that it will require the progress of vaccine advancements to see the borders open once again.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories