Canada and the U.S. have agreed to extend current land border restrictions until Sept. 21, top border officials said Friday.
“We will continue to do what’s necessary to keep our communities safe,” Public Safety Minister Bill Blair tweeted of the countries’ “reciprocal restrictions” designed to help fight the spread of Covid-19.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf also confirmed the decision on Twitter.
Why it matters: This is the fifth extension of the border measures that were first introduced in March as both countries grappled with surges in Covid-19 cases. While Canada has flattened its epidemiological curve, the U.S. has seen caseloads soar throughout the summer as the disease flares in certain regions.
Canadians are largely supportive of the restrictions, fearing the consequences of American visitors being allowed to drive to popular tourist destinations. Provincial premiers have urged the Trudeau government to continue the measures.
Ottawa recently clamped down on a loophole that had allowed Americans driving to Alaska to pass through Canada; now, those travelers may only enter through five land ports and must display hang tags showing they were approved to transit through Canada. They must exit by a specific date and check in with border agents as they do so.
But some border towns and the U.S. lawmakers who represent them have urged the nations to ease the restrictions as the communities’ economies suffer from a dearth of tax revenue without Canadian visitors crossing to shop.
What’s next: Border agencies in Canada and the U.S. will have another few weeks to contemplate another extension. The tourism sector, cross-border commerce experts and lawmakers are sure to continue advocating for a different approach to the restrictions.