Canada on Monday lifted its ban on Americans crossing the border for shopping, tourism or visits, though the United States kept similar restrictions on Canadians. The reopening was part of a bumpy return to normal life after travel restrictions caused by COVID-19.
Citizens and residents of the United States must have completed vaccination and tested negative for COVID-19 within three days before crossing one of the world’s longest and busiest land borders. They must also fill out a detailed form before crossing.
The measures in effect from today also allow children under 12 who have not been vaccinated to enter the country without the need for quarantine if they arrive with parents with a full vaccination schedule.
Although travelers must register in advance, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) did not say how many people are waiting to reopen. But travelers must count on the length of time for paperwork at the border.
“The CBSA will not jeopardize the health and safety of Canadians for waiting times at the border,” agency spokeswoman Rebecca Purdy said in a statement.
Since the early hours of Monday morning, hundreds of private vehicles from the United States have been seen crossing the International Rainbow Bridge, one of the busiest border points, located in the town of Niagara Falls.
Borders have been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020 in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
In 2019, about 15 million Americans traveled to Canada, generating about 11 billion Canadian dollars (8.74 billion US dollars), which is one-fifth of the country’s total tourism revenue.
The United States said it will keep the ban on Canadians doing non-essential travel at least until August 21, which also applies to the border with Mexico. However, Joe Biden’s government has begun preparing for a gradual reopening. The main requirement will be that nearly all foreign visitors arriving in the United States must be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Canada also announced that from September 7, reopening will be extended to travelers from the rest of the world with the full schedule for the four state-allowed vaccines: AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University of America, Canada records 1.44 million cases and more than 26 thousand deaths due to COVID-19.
With information from Efe
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