Canada-US border closure extended to July 21
The Canada-US border will remain closed to all non-essential travel until at least July 21, Canadian Public Safety Minister announced Friday.
This is despite falling virus infection rates and growing pressure from businesses in both countries to end the restrictions.
Blair took to Twitter to make the announcement.
"Our number one priority as we fight #COVID19 is keeping Canadians safe," he tweeted. "In coordination with the U.S., we are extending restrictions on non-essential international travel and with the United States until July 21st, 2021."
As well, new travel rules regarding admittance of fully vaccinated Canadians, and those with permanent residence status, will be disclosed Monday, he tweeted.
"The government is planning measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents and others who are currently permitted to enter Canada," Blair said.
His tweets come one day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers of Canadian provinces met to talk over border opening plans, Global News reported. The border has been closed to land travel since March 2020, although trucks ferrying what are considered essential goods - medical and food supplies for example - have been allowed to travel back and forth.
Trudeau said the closure is "frustrating" but necessary.
He noted that fully vaccinated Canadians wishing to return to Canada may be protected, but "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,” Trudeau said. “We are getting there, but that’s why we are looking at a phased approach to easing border restrictions.”
The prime minister said the federal government is working on ways to allow Canadians who want to travel to do so, including an app on cell phones called the ArriveCan app.
“(The) initial phase will be to have people upload an image of proof of vaccination so border agents can verify on their return to Canada,” Trudeau said, adding details about this will be available in the coming weeks, Global News reported.