U.S. extends non-essential-travel ban at Canadian border

The Peace Arch is an iconic structure at the Douglas border crossing | Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended its ban on non-essential visitors from Canada at its land borders until August 31. 

The ban had been set to end on July 31, and there was some speculation that the U.S. would follow Canada's lead, and announce a date when the ban would be lifted. 

Canada on July 19 announced that fully vaccinated Americans would be allowed to cross land borders and visit Canada for non-essential trips starting August 9. Those visitors must have gone a full two weeks following their second vaccine jab, as well as provide proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arriving at the border. 

The DHS, however, said that border closures would remain in effect to limit the spread of COVID-19, including the easily transmissible Delta variant. 

The travel ban does not apply to Canadians who decide to fly into the U.S.

Essential travel is allowed, so freight can get across. People are able to cross the border for a range of reasons, such as business, medical purposes and education.

When Canada announced its plan to allow fully vaccinated Americans at land borders on August 9, and other fully vaccinated international visitors starting September 7, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu cited what she considered high vaccination rates for eligible Canadians.

Health Canada data from earlier this week noted that for all Canadians (not just elibigle ones) 68.8% of the population had at least one dose of vaccine, while 43.74% of the population had received second doses. 

The U.S. lags for partially vaccinated residents, with 56.3% of the population having had at least one dose of vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The U.S. is ahead of Canada for fully vaccinated residents, however, with 48.8% of its population in that category. 

Canada is quickly gaining on the U.S. in terms of the percentage of all residents who have been fully vaccinated. 

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom