The United States is extending its ban on non-essential travel to Canada and Mexico until at least Aug. 21, officials say.
The Department of Homeland Security announced its extension of the policy aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 days after Canada decided to begin lifting restrictions on U.S. residents crossing the northern border next month.
"To decrease the spread of COVID-19, including the Delta variant, the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel at our land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico through August 21, while ensuring the continued flow of essential trade and travel," the department wrote in an email to the Washington Examiner, noting it is in "constant contact with Canadian and Mexican counterparts to identify the conditions under which restrictions may be eased safely and sustainably."
On Monday, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced that fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. "who meet specific entry requirements" may enter the country starting Aug. 9.
"As a first step, starting August 9, 2021, Canada plans to begin allowing entry to American citizens and permanent residents, who are currently residing in the United States, and have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to entering Canada for non-essential travel," the PHAC wrote in a statement.
Canada and the U.S. agreed to ban non-essential crossings at the border on March 21, 2020, and the order was extended on multiple occasions as a matter of precaution, but the PHAC now says "rising vaccination rates and declining COVID-19 cases" will allow the measure to be lifted.
One Mexican government official predicted the U.S. ban would be extended, telling Border Report that restrictions would likely remain in place for at least another few weeks due to the two nations' failure to reach an agreement.
Despite the pandemic-related travel restrictions, the U.S. is facing a surge of migrants, particularly unaccompanied minors, traversing its southern border. U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered 188,829 migrants along the southwest border in June 2021, and reports indicate that an unprecedented 117,000 migrant children will enter the U.S. by the end of the year.
The U.S. has experienced more than 34 million cases of COVID-19, greatly outpacing Mexico's 2.7 million cases and Canada's 1.4 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker.
Washington Examiner Videos
Original Author: Carly Roman
Original Location: US extending ban on non-essential travel to Canada and Mexico