The US has been limiting non-essential travel along both borders since the start of the pandemic and extending those restrictions on a monthly basis. The restrictions don’t apply to cross-border trade, US citizens and lawful permanent residents, as well as people traveling for medical purposes or to attend school, among others.
But over recent weeks, the administration has come under fire for continuing to keep restrictions in place, more than a year into the pandemic, and after Canada announced it was reopening to vaccinated Americans.
In notices to be posted in the Federal Register, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas notes that there have been “positive developments in recent weeks,” citing the millions of vaccines doses administered in the United States and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moving Canada and Mexico to Covid-19 Level 4 (Very High) to Level 3 (High) “in recognition of conditions that, while still requiring significant safeguards, are improving.”
Still, DHS found that the outbreak and continued transmission and spread of Covid-19 both in the US and globally posed a risk.
A DHS spokesperson cited concerns over the dangerous Delta variant and said the agency is in “constant contact with Canadian and Mexican counterparts to identify the conditions under which restrictions may be eased safely and sustainably.”
The restrictions go into effect Thursday and remain in effect until August 21, “unless amended or rescinded prior to that time.”