Canada announced on Tuesday the continued closure of land entry ports for non-essential travellers, along with the extension of the controversial quarantine hotel measures.
Travellers will have to wait at least another month before they can drive through any ports of entry after the border closure was extended until May 21. The neighbouring governments have begun a practise of reevaluating and extending the border closure each month. The border originally closed in March 2020 which means the border will be closed for at least 14 months.
The border closure has greatly impacted communities along the 49th parallel border which has resulted in numerous American and Canadian politicians calling for the border to be re-opened. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY) who represents a border region in upstate New York and is co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus penned an open letter to President Biden in March asking for the border to be reopened by July 4.
In a statement, the US Department of Homeland Security said that they were "engaged in discussions with Canada and Mexico about easing restrictions as health conditions improve." Opening the border would be a difficult task anytime soon as Canada trails behind the United States in vaccinations significantly.
Canada also extended the controversial quarantine hotel program for travellers returning from abroad via airlines. All travellers must spend at least 3 days in a hotel and test negative for COVID-19 before they are allowed to return home. Travellers must also have taken a COVID-19 test within 3 days of departing for Canada and test negative.
The COVID-19 hotels have been heavily criticized after a woman was sexually assaulted by an employee while staying at one of the mandatory hotels and another man contradicted COVID-19 at the hotel and spread it to his immediate family. Despite widespread criticism, Prime Minister Trudeau said, "We are continuing to look at more (measures)" when asked according to the Financial Post. It remains unclear when an end to travel restrictions will occur.
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