U.S. extends travel restrictions with Canada and Mexico until March 21

Published on : Monday, February 22, 2021

The U.S. government recently announced that the U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least March 21. The restrictions at U.S. land border crossings with Canada and Mexico was first established exactly a year back amid the coronavirus halting all non-essential travel between the United States and Canada since last March and were set to expire on February 21.

The new 30-day extension is the first restriction announced under President Joe Biden and comes as the White House has been holding meetings about potentially tightening requirements for crossing at U.S. land borders in North America, according to officials. Authorities are also working to ensure essential trade and travel remains open.

Canada has shown little interest in lifting the restrictions and recently imposed new COVID-19 testing requirements for some Canadians returning by land crossings. Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair confirmed the extension of restrictions through March 21 and informed that the country will continue to base decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe from COVID-19.

On January 26, the U.S. government began requiring nearly all international air travellers to get negative COVID-19 test results within three days of travel, but has no similar requirements for land border crossings. In an executive order issued last month, Biden directed U.S. officials to immediately commence diplomatic outreach to the governments of Canada and Mexico regarding public health protocols for land ports of entry.

It added that U.S. agencies should submit a plan to Biden within 14 days in order to implement appropriate public health measures at land ports of entry. It was mentioned that the plan should implement CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines, consistent with applicable law, and take into account the operational considerations relevant to the different populations who enter the United States by land.

Biden also directed a similar review of sea travel to implement appropriate public health measures at sea ports.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stated that the United States, Canada, and Mexico are extending the restrictions on non-essential travel at land borders through March 21 in order to protect citizens and prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

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