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Despite talks between U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on June 13, no deal was reached between the North American leaders about reopening their shared land border, which has remained closed to non-essential travelers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Bill Blair, announced on Friday via Twitter that U.S.-Canadian border restrictions would remain in effect for at least another month, saying: “in coordination with the U.S., we are extending restrictions on non-essential international travel and with the United States until July 21st, 2021,” and asserting that the government’s number one priority continues to be keeping Canadians safe.
Though Canada has remained accessible by air to U.S. travelers throughout the pandemic, a bilateral ban on non-essential land crossings was first implemented in March 2020 and has been extended on a monthly basis ever since.
During a press conference on Friday, Trudeau acknowledged that the prolonged border closure “is frustrating”, Global News reported.
The Prime Minister said that he wanted at least 75 percent of the Canadian population inoculated with their first dose and 20 percent fully vaccinated before considering reopening the land border.
Our number one priority as we fight #COVID19 is keeping Canadians safe. In coordination with the U.S., we are extending restrictions on non-essential international travel and with the United States until July 21st, 2021.
— Bill Blair (@BillBlair) June 18, 2021
According to The Hill, 65.4 percent of Canadians have had at least one dose, and 16.5 percent have been fully immunized thus far.
Though Trudeau said he realizes that fully vaccinated Canadians who badly want to travel this summer may be protected, “it does not protect the community around you from catching COVID-19 from you.”
“You are still returning to a country where we haven’t yet reached a high enough threshold of second dose vaccination,” he continued. “We are getting there, but that’s why we are looking at a phased approach to easing border restrictions.”
Trudeau previously said that, when the U.S. and Canada do begin lifting border restrictions, proof of vaccination may be a requirement to cross.
Returning Canadian residents currently face a stringent set of reentry requirements, including a 14-day isolation period, regardless of their vaccination status. Although, Trudeau let slip last week that the government is working to loosen restrictions for fully vaccinated citizens.
“As we have said, the government is planning measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, Permanent Residents, and others who are currently permitted to enter Canada and will provide further details on Monday, June 21,” Blair confirmed on Twitter.