The Politics of COVID-19: The President’s invisible wall used to lock Americans out.
The land border closure between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico was set to expire this month, but officials have announced an extension of this policy until at least November. It could last even longer as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the U.S., and both border countries have criticized the pandemic response in the U.S.
“To continue to limit the spread of COVID, the U.S., Mexico, & Canada will extend the restrictions on non-essential travel through Nov 21,” Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said in a Tweet on Monday. “We are working closely with Mexico & Canada to identify safe criteria to ease the restrictions in the future & support our border communities.”
Bill Blair, Canada’s public safety minister, said on Twitter all decisions “will continue to be based on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe.”
The borders between the U.S. and its neighbors to the north and south have been closed since March 18, with authorities extending the expiration date each month. According to the Canada Border Services Agency, Americans can pass through Canada on their way to and from Alaska, but some have used this “loophole” to stay in Canada. Those caught have been issued expensive fines. Exceptions to the rule include people traveling for trade purposes and Americans returning to the U.S., and Canadians returning to Canada.
Although the border closure is now set to expire on Nov. 21, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an interview last week that it could last longer.
“The recommendation is to avoid non-essential travel, and that’s for people’s own safety. I know there’s a lot of people anxious about what’s happening south of the border in Florida, in Arizona, in California, and other places where the virus is not under control—far less under control than we are here,” he said.
“We keep extending the border closures because the United States is not in a place where we would feel comfortable reopening those borders,” he added. “We will continue to make sure that Canadian safety is top of mind when we move forward. We see the cases in the United States and elsewhere around the world, and we need to continue to keep these border controls in place.”
Jessica is a freelance journalist on a quest to see and experience everything our gorgeous planet has to offer and to share her experiences with her fellow travelers. Jessica has written for several world-class Travel Magazines.