The new rules that are similar to that announced for international passengers, will be introduced gradually. The first phase, which begins in early November, will allow fully vaccinated visitors traveling for non-essential reasons, such as visiting friends or tourism, to cross US land borders. In the second phase, which begins at the beginning of January 2022, all foreign travelers are required to be vaccinated, regardless of whether they are traveling for material or non-material reasons.
“These new vaccination regulations are the best tool we have in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of Covid-19, and will create a consistent, rigorous protocol for all foreigners living in the country – or travel to the United States by air, ”a senior administration official told reporters.
The US was Limitation of unnecessary journeys on the ground along its borders with Canada and Mexico since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and are extending these restrictions on a monthly basis. Air travel between the United States and these countries was possible. The restrictions do not apply to cross-border trade, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, or those traveling for medical purposes or to attend school, among other things.
The latest restrictions are due to expire on October 21st. Senior officials said the restrictions on cross-border travel will remain in place until a soon-to-be-announced date in November.
A Trump-era public health ordinance that allows the rapid eviction of more than 958,000 migrants will also remain in place. While these restrictions are also public health based, they are necessary due to concerns about migrants in meeting places in processing, officials said.
The travel restrictions had been scrutinized by lobbyists, lawmakers and border mayors who pleaded with the Biden government to adapt the borders to the evolving landscape.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul welcomed the news Tuesday night. “I applaud our federal partners for reopening our borders with Canada, which I have been calling for since the closure began,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. “Canada is not only our trading partner, but most of all, Canadians are our neighbors and our friends.”
New York MP Brian Higgins, a Democrat representing a Buffalo district, also announced the decision, saying that “Canada’s high vaccination rates make the continued border closure absurd and unjustifiable”.
“For months we have heard from companies suffering and families upset about the separation imposed by the ongoing border closure. The sigh of relief that comes from the Northern Border communities following this announcement is so loud you can practically hear it at both ends of the Peace Bridge. “
When asked about the timetable for reopening the borders, the White House has repeatedly referred to inter-agency working groups that were formed over the summer. Under the supervision of the White House Covid-19 Response Team and the National Security Council, the groups included representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as officials from the Department of State, the Department of Health, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Transportation.
American officials have also worked with representatives from the European Union, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Mexico.
“We have apparently seen increased availability of vaccines in Canada, which now has very high vaccination rates, as well as reconciling them in Mexico,” said the senior administration official.
The US previously told Canadians that the Biden government wanted to keep the rules symmetrical at both land borders, a source familiar with discussions told CNN, despite different situations at both borders and inconsistencies with air travel rules.
The U.S.-Mexico border is facing an influx of migrants that has overwhelmed resources, raising some concerns among U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials about easing travel restrictions on the U.S. southern border while staffing increases to help increase the number of migrants.
CBP is tasked with enforcing the newly announced vaccination requirement, including obtaining certificates of vaccination status and spot checks of travelers to verify vaccination status on paper or digitally, according to another senior administrative official. There will be no compulsory examination.
This story was updated with reaction.