Beleaguered business owners and families separated by COVID-19 restrictions rejoiced Wednesday after the U.S. announced it will reopen its land borders to nonessential travel in November, ending a 19-month freeze.
The United States will reopen its border with Canada and Mexico to fully vaccinated foreign nationals starting in early November.
Travel across land borders from Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to workers whose jobs are deemed essential.
New rules will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S. regardless of the reason starting in early November, when a similar easing of restrictions is set for air travel.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, members of our shared cross-border community have felt the pain and economic hardship of the land border closures,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
“That pain is about to end.”
Travellers entering the U.S. by vehicle, rail and ferry will be asked about their vaccination status as part of the standard U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection. At officers’ discretion, travellers will have their proof of vaccination verified in a secondary screening process.
Unlike air travel, for which proof of a negative COVID-19 test is required before boarding a flight to enter the U.S., no testing will be required to enter the U.S. by land or sea, provided the travellers meet the vaccination requirement.
The precise date in early November when restrictions will be lifted will be announced “very soon”, officials said.
Since August 9, Canada has been allowing fully vaccinated US visitors into the country for non-essential travel.
The border closures with Canada, which have been in place for 19 months to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, have hit border communities hard and US politicians have been pushing the White House to lift restrictions.
The White House announced on September 20 the United States would in early November lift travel restrictions on fully vaccinated air travellers from 33 countries including China, India, Brazil and most of Europe.
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