The ban on non-essential travel between the U.S. and Canada will likely be extended soon, according to sources close to the matter in Ottawa told Reuters.
A final decision has yet to be made on the extension, which expires on July 31. After going into effect in March, the ban has already been extended multiple times.
Leaders of U.S. states on the U.S.-Canada border have recently called for the travel restrictions to be relaxed. However, with cases of COVID-19 surging in 40 states, leaders and officials in several Canadian provinces have opposed these calls and urged for the border to remain closed.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford commented on the severity of the outbreak in the U.S. on Monday, specifically citing Florida as “staggering.” In British Columbia, the chief medical officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, commented that travel between the two countries would not happen by the end of summer. Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an unexpected comment on the failure of the U.S. to handle the virus properly, saying on July 8 that Canada had done better.
“We will have more to say later this week, I’m sure,” Trudeau said about the matter, stating that discussions were ongoing.
Since the ban was put in place, thousands of travelers have reportedly been turned away at the U.S.-Canada border. Healthcare workers and other general foreign workers have been allowed to travel between the two countries. Early on, those with family in Canada were allowed to cross for nondiscretionary reasons, but in recent months, the government has tightened restrictions and advised against all non-essential travel.
Recently, Canada has stationed health officials at 36 border crossings to screen American travelers for the novel coronavirus. Tammy Jarbeau, a spokesperson for Health Canada, said that the points of entry chosen for this initiative see roughly 90% of all travel into the country.
“[Public Health Agency of Canada] officials, including quarantine officers, clinical screening officers and screening officers will be on-site to screen travelers entering Canada at these ports of entry,” Jarbeau explained.
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