U.S., Canada, Mexico to extend border travel restrictions until Dec. 21: officials

The Canada-United States border crossing in Lansdowne
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Customs and Protection officers stand beside a sign saying that the border is closed to non-essential traffic at the Canada-United States border crossing at the Thousand Islands Bridge, which remains closed to non-essential traffic to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Lansdowne, Ontario, Canada September 28, 2020. REUTERS/Lars Hagberg

November 18, 2020

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico are expected to remain closed to non-essential travel until Dec. 21 at the earliest amid a rising number of U.S. coronavirus cases, officials in Washington and Ottawa told Reuters.

The current restrictions expire on Saturday and the three countries are expected to approve another 30-day extension, the official said on Wednesday. The United States leads the world in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

The restrictions were first put in place in March to control the spread of COVID-19 and have been extended on a monthly basis ever since.

In Ottawa, a Canadian government source said the travel restrictions in place at the Canada-U.S. land border would remain in effect for at least another month.

A U.S. Department of Homeland Security official told Reuters the agency was “continuing to look at appropriate public health criteria for a future re-evaluation of existing restrictions”.

The restrictions are particularly painful for U.S. and Canadian towns along the border that are tightly intertwined.

Statistics Canada said earlier that U.S. visits to Canada by automobile had plummeted by more than 95% in August from August 2019.

(Additional reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Peter Cooney)