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The United States government announced it has extended its ban on nonessential travel along the borders with Canada and Mexico as part of an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus.
According to The Associated Press, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Friday the ban has been extended through at least September 21 as a result of the rising number of Delta-variant COVID-19 cases.
Homeland Security officials said they are working with public health and medical experts to determine a method to “safely and sustainably resume normal travel.” The travel restrictions have been in place since March 2020 and have been extended monthly ever since.
The decision to extend border closures comes after Canada reopened to fully vaccinated Americans and permanent U.S. residents on August 9, while the country revealed it would once again welcome travelers from other countries beginning on September 7.
As for Mexico, leading data and analytics company GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Tourism Source Market Insight – United States,’ suggests the nonessential travel ban could potentially prove devastating for the country’s tourism industry.
U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes issued a statement on the border closure extension.
“Travel restrictions are no longer protecting us from the virus – vaccines are. Every day that our land borders remain closed delays America’s economic and jobs recovery, causing greater damage to the millions of people whose livelihoods depend on travel and tourism.”
“For each month the status quo continues at the Canadian border, America’s No. 1 source market of inbound arrivals, the United States loses $1.5 billion in potential travel exports, leaving countless American businesses vulnerable.”
“Entry restrictions were urgently needed before effective COVID-19 vaccines were widely available, but these shutdowns carried a steep price – the loss of more than 1 million American jobs and $150 billion in export income last year alone.”