US Extends travel restrictions at land borders with Canada and Mexico until March 21

A U.S. Customs and Protection vehicle stands next to a sign saying the border is closed to nonessential traffic at the Canada-U.S. Border crossing at the Thousand Islands Bridge, to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Lansdowne, Ontario, Canada, on September 28, 2020 (Lars Hagberg / .)

WASHINGTON – The United States’ land borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least March 21, the first anniversary of restrictions to address concerns about COVID-19 transmission, the government said Friday. from the United States.

The new 30-day extension is the first announced under President Joe Biden and comes as the White House has been holding meetings on potentially more stringent requirements for crossing U.S. land borders into North America, authorities said.

Canada has shown little interest in lifting the restrictions and recently imposed new COVID-19 testing requirements for some Canadians returning via land crossings.

On January 26, the US government began requiring nearly all international air travelers to test negative for COVID-19 within three days of travel, but has no similar requirements for crossings. land border.

In an executive order issued last month, Biden ordered US officials to « immediately begin diplomatic outreach with the governments of Canada and Mexico regarding public health protocols for land ports of entry. »

He added that US agencies must present a plan to Biden within 14 days « to implement appropriate public health measures at land ports of entry. »

“The plan must implement the guidelines of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States), In accordance with the applicable law, and take into account the operational considerations relevant for the different populations that enter the United States by land, ”he said.

Biden also led a similar review of sea travel and to « implement appropriate public health measures in seaports. »

By David Shepardson and Ted Hesson