To help mitigate the spread of COVID, the United States and Canada border has been closed to most non-essential traffic since March 21, 2020. Since then, the two governments have re-evaluated the potential for reopening the border on a monthly basis. Not surprisingly, the decision has always been to keep the border closed. Also not surprisingly, with significantly fewer cases of COVID than the U.S., Canada has always been more in the corner of “No, not yet.”
When President Joe Biden took office in January, he and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau briefly discussed the possibility of the border reopening, but Trudeau made it clear that he was not yet interested.
“The bottom line is this is not the time to travel either internationally or even across the country,” Trudeau said at a press briefing in Ottawa in late January. “With spring break coming, people need to hunker down, stay home, make sure we kill the second wave of the virus so that we can get through into the spring – and the increase in millions of doses of vaccines that will be arriving in Canada – in the best position possible.”
Since then, both countries have indeed been focusing on “getting shots in arms.”
So what does Trudeau say now about the possibility of opening the border now, nearly a year after it was closed?
Essentially, “Not yet.”
“We’re all eager to be able to travel again,” Trudeau recently said to reporters at a news conference in Montreal. “But, I think we’re all going to wait patiently until such time as the health situation allows us to loosen border restrictions internationally. That’ll be eventually, but not for today.”
Not surprisingly, this is roughly the same sentiment he had a few months ago.
I know that’s very disappointing to those who have very personal reasons to want to go to the other side of the border. But frankly, that’s probably a good thing. Infection rates are admittedly down from their peak levels. However the U.S. is still averaging a staggering 54,000 new cases every day (being down from a “whole lot” of cases still leaves us with “a lot”), and Canada has recently discovered over 3,000 cases of the B.1.1.7. “U.K” variant, which is more contagious and deadly than previous strains of the virus. To keep the masses safe, waiting a few more months is probably for the best.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary