On Monday, Canada announced the re-opening of the Canadian-US border to vaccinated US citizens beginning August 9.
The border closed March 21, 2020 and has been open to essential travel only since. The border closure has been evaluated on a month-to-month basis since the initial closure, being renewed numerous times up until today.
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The Canadian government defines vaccinated as individuals who have been fully vaccinated with a Canadian authorized COVID-19 vaccine, 14 days prior to entering Canada. Currently the vaccines accepted include – Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
Those crossing the border into Canada will also need a negative COVID-19 test conducted 3 days or fewer before travel, regardless of vaccination status.
Bill Blair, the Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, stated upon the announcement of reopening:
“The Government of Canada recognizes that people have been anxiously awaiting a re-opening of the border to the world. We have been fully engaged with our American counterparts given the deep economic and family ties between our two countries. Today’s announcement is another big step in our approach to easing border measures which is guided by facts, scientific evidence and the advice of our public health experts.”
The border closure has had a significant impact on Washington state, specifically Point Roberts, WA, a town isolated by the border and water, that can only be reached via land by traveling through Canada.
Gov. Jay Inslee has sent multiple letters to US officials urging them to immediately reopen the border – one as recent as July 16. Inslee repeatedly cited the impact of the continued closure on various individuals and communities, highlighting Point Roberts:
“Point Roberts and British Columbia have a long-intertwined history. But because of the continued border closure to non-essential travel, businesses in Point Roberts are at risk of closing, houses in the community are neglected, and residents are experiencing isolation. I recently allocated $100,000 in emergency funding to the only grocery store in Point Roberts to ensure that residents have access to food and necessary supplies, but I know the thing that will best help Washingtonians in this community and other border communities in the state is to reopen the border so they can again thrive.”
Despite the Canadian government’s announcement, the US still has restrictions barring non-essential travel via land and ferry crossings at the Canadian and Mexican borders. There has been no announcement by the US government on when or if these measures will be changed.
The Canadian government intends to open its borders to all vaccinated travelers on September 7, 2021, pending any setbacks.
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