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What to Know About the Canadian Border Reopening

Travel industry pros and groups everywhere rejoiced when the Canadian government finally shared the news they'd been waiting for: That the Canada/U.S. border would be reopening for to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents on August 9. Just two days later, however, President Biden extended the closures of the borders to Canada and Mexico until August 21.

The announcement—which notes that the restrictions could be amended or rescinded prior to the August 21 date—was met with frustration from many, especially those who have been waiting to tap back into the Canadian market. Released by the Department of Homeland Security, the announcement states:

"U.S. and Canadian officials have mutually determined that non-essential travel between the United States and Canada currently poses additional risk of transmission and spread of the virus associated with COVID-19 and places the populace of both nations at increased risk of contracting the virus associated with COVID-19."

It goes on to list the purposes for travel which are approved under the current restrictions, which does not include "individuals traveling for tourism purposes."

The Detroit Free Press offered more detail on what traveling to Canada during the August 9 -21 window could look like.

Tori Emerson Barnes, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy, U.S. Travel Association said the news of the extension following the initial announcement from the Canadian government continues to harm the recovery of the travel industry.

"Every day that our borders remain closed further delays our industry's recovery, causing greater damage to the millions of Americans whose livelihoods depend on travel," Barns said. "The continued closure of the Canadian border alone costs the U.S. economy $1.5 billion in potential travel exports each month."

Barns explained in a statement that given the strong vaccination rates on both sides of the border, it's possible to safely reopen to the country's No. 1 source market for international visitors.

"Land travel accounted for more than half of all overnight visits to the U.S. by Canadians pre-pandemic, generating significant travel exports that support vital American jobs. Canada made the right call in releasing a timeline for vaccinated Americans to cross the land border and visit, and it is past time that the U.S. reciprocates: There is no difference between a fully vaccinated Canadian and a fully vaccinated American," Barns continued. "We urge the Biden administration to determine a date and a plan as quickly as possible to welcome Canadian visitors at U.S. land borders."

Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for Groups Today.


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