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White House announces another extension of U.S. border closure with Canada

Closure will be extended until Oct. 21, non-essential travel has been restricted since March of 2020
Engaged couple Rob Sensel, left, of Mount Vernon, Wash., and Kathryn Bell Lewis, of Richmond, B.C., spend time together separated by a ditch along the Canada-U.S. border, in Abbotsford, B.C., on Sunday, May 10, 2020. The closure of the Canada-U.S. border to non-essential travel has been extended another month, the U.S. announced Sept. 20. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The United States will extend its border closure with Canada to non-essential travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic another month, the White House announced Monday, Sept. 20.

White House Response Coordinator Jeff Zients announced the closure will be extended until Oct. 21, USA Today reported along with several other national news sources. Homeland Security has yet not made a similar announcement on Twitter.

Zients’ announcement means non-essential travel from Canada will not be permitted for a 19th month since the two countries each decided to close their border in March of 2020.

Both sides extended the closure on a month-by-month basis until Canada began allowing vaccinated Americans to cross for reasons such as tourism and shopping on Aug. 9.

But the U.S. has continued to extend its closing, as Monday’s announcement would indicate a second extension since the Canadian’s eased restrictions.

News of the extension comes just one day before the current U.S. restrictions were set to expire on Tuesday, Sept. 21.

Monday’s news of another month of restrictions on the northern border come on the same day the White House announced it plans to begin opening travel for all vaccinated foreign nationals in early November, according to a second USA Today story.

Under that plan, travelers will need to show they are fully vaccinated before they board international flights bound for the U.S., according to the story. A negative COVID-19 test from within three days of departure also will need to be supplied. Enhanced contract tracing and masking also will be required.

Those requirements resemble what Canada is requiring of U.S. citizens to cross the land border, but restrictions at land ports of entry into the U.S. were not mentioned, USA Today reported.

“This vaccination requirement deploys the best tool we have in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of the virus,” Zients said, according to USA Today. “Vaccines continue to show that they’re highly effective, including against the delta variant, and the new system allows us to implement strict protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

— David Rasbach, The Bellingham Herald

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