The Chronicle Herald (Metro)

Critics pan U.S. decision to keep Canadian border closed


WINDSOR, Ont. — America will prohibit Canadians from crossing the land border to the U.S. for another month, a move critics said Wednesday would continue to harm businesses and families in both countries, especially in tightly-integrated border regions.

“What the U.S. administra­tion has done today is to continue to divide families, and prevent people from coming to the U.S. for tourism or business,” said Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Perrin Beatty. “On social and on economic terms, it makes no sense whatsoever.”

The U.S. announced Wednesday it will continue to keep its land border with Canada closed to non-essential travel until Aug. 21. The current restrictio­ns have been in place in both countries since the COVID-19 pandemic began, though Canadians have been able to fly into the U.S.

Canada said earlier this week it would begin allowing fully-vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents into the country via any means on Aug. 9, but the ad

ministrati­on of U.S. President Joe Biden declined to follow suit.

Goldy Hyder, president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada said in a statement that decision “makes no sense from a public health perspectiv­e and will hurt businesses and entreprene­urs on both sides of the border.”

A notice from the office of U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas noted the risk posed by new

COVID-19 variants and said “returning to previous levels of travel between the two nations places the personnel staffing land ports of entry between the United States and Canada, as well as the individual­s traveling through these ports of entry, at increased risk of exposure.”

The decision means Canadians won’t be able travel to the U.S. by land for at least another month unless the trip is deemed essential, but fullyvacci­nated Americans will be able to come north for any reason as of Aug. 9.

Beatty said in an interview the decision “flies in the face of both science and most current public health data,” given Canadians are more highly vaccinated than Americans and the infection rate in Canada is “way lower.”

The most obvious economic consequenc­e of the decision will be to stop Canadian tourists from going to border states, which will negatively impact states like New York, Washington State, and Maine, he said.

But it will also harm Canadians who might want to go to the U.S. for business trips, such as to do sales or follow up on contracts to provide services to American customers, Beatty explained.

U.S. congressma­n Brian Higgins said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon the economies of Ontario and Western New York are “deeply integrated,” including through the Buffalo Niagara

Internatio­nal Airport, and profession­al sports franchises.

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