Border between Canada and the U.S. will close for non-essential travel

President Donald Trump confirmed the news in a tweet on Wednesday morning. “We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic. Trade will not be affected. Details to follow!” Trump tweeted.

“I just spoke to President Trump again this morning and we have agreed that both Canada and the United States will temporarily restrict all non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a press conference on Wednesday morning.

Travelers won’t be permitted to cross the border for recreation and tourism, he explained.

Trudeau clarified that “essential travel” won’t stop. “Our governments recognize that it is critical we preserve supply chains between both countries,” Trudeau said. These supply chains include the passage of food, fuel and medicines reach people in both countries. Trucking won’t be affected, for example.

On Monday March 16th, Trudeau announced he was closing the country’s border to non-citizens, but American citizens had been exempt from the restriction up until now. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, Trudeau’s wife, has coronavirus.

Processing thousands of people per day puts border agents at increased risk for contracting COVID-19 and passing it along to others.

CBP employees have been permitted to use protective equipment, such as masks, in appropriate circumstances.

Both the U.S. and Canada border agencies have reported increasing their questions at entry about international travel and health to spot ill travelers during the spread of the coronavirus.

Canada’s border agency has been updating its Twitter account with steps it is taking during the pandemic as well as information on mitigating the spread of the virus.

Coronavirus travel bans: Who can’t come into the U.S. now?

Trump did not get into specifics about the new Canada restrictions as of Wednesday morning, but there is a growing list of other countries’ citizens who are unable to enter the U.S. at this time.Get the Travel newsletter in your inbox.

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All foreign nationals from China, Iran and certain European countries are barred from entering the United States. This ban includes anyone who visited these countries within the 14 days prior to their U.S. trip. 

The European countries include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. President Donald Trump later added the United Kingdom and Ireland to this list. 

U.S. citizens are allowed to return home but must fly into 13 designated airports and undergo “enhanced entry screening.” 

Why is the border closure happening now?

“We took major measures on Monday to close off our borders to international travelers and we took two days to coordinate this further measure with the United States to ensure that we do it properly and in cooperation with each other,” Trudeau said. Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland called Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday for the purpose of beginning discussions on final phase and they were able to make the announcement today.

Extra travel right now, based on government guidance, could be a hindrance to public health in stopping the spread of the virus. In both the U.S. and Canada, people are encouraged to to stay home.

“This collaborative and reciprocal measure is an extension of that prudent approach,” Trudeau said.

However, the border remaining open for essential travel due to health and economic safety.

“The fact is we are working very closely with the United States at this time to introduce specific rules that will keep both Canadians and Americans safe,” Trudeau said. It’s important for the border to remain open, considering the $2 billion worth of goods that cross it each day. It’s critical for health of economy and citizens.

When will the coronavirus travel ban go into effect? How will it be enforced?

“It will be happening very soon,” Trudeau said.

He noted Canada is working with the U.S. so measures can begin quickly, and the Canada Border Services Agency has adequate resources to meet the challenge of ensuring the ban’s enforcement.

When will the US-Canada border reopen?

It’s unclear. 

“These measures will last in place as long as we feel that they need to last,” Trudeau said, adding that Canada and the U.S. will closely coordinate. 

Source: USA Today



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