WASHINGTON (WWTI/WFFF) — The fight to reopen the Northern Border continues. After more than a year of missed memories, Canada announced that fully vaccinated American citizens could cross the border on August 9.
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik has sent a letter to each of Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers requesting a partnership and assistance in reopening travel across the U.S.- Canada border. She says this follows the Canadian government’s easing quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated Canadian residents while leaving the border.
“For over a month I have urged the Biden Administration to begin unilaterally reopening the northern border to Canadians seeking to travel to the U.S., as this would have an immediate impact on families and businesses along the border,” said Stefanik. “With Canada’s move to ease restrictions on vaccinated Canadians, I am hoping they will follow the science and extend the same treatment to the many Americans who’ve been waiting for over a year to visit their homes or loved ones in Canada. Restoring the special U.S. – Canadian partnership will require the collective resolve of leaders on both sides of the border, and I am asking Canada’s Premiers to join me in this effort.”
When the Canadian government announced they would allow fully vaccinated American citizens to enter the country for non-essential travel, officials said travelers would not be required to quarantine. “They must also be asymptomatic, and they must provide contact and travel information and proof of vaccination in English or French,” Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness said. “Electronically from the ArriveCAN app before arriving at our border.”
In response to the U.S. extended the closure through August 21—more than two weeks beyond the date set by Canada—Stefanik’s letter stated also states, in part:
As the conditions have significantly improved in both countries and an increasing number of residents have been vaccinated, the lack of meaningful progress towards reopening has been devastating to communities on both sides of our border. Quite simply – the continual month-long extensions without clear signs of coordination or progress are straining the U.S. – Canada partnership.
Stefanik further stated:
Since the Canadian government recently announced the first – albeit very modest – step towards removing travel restrictions by ending the 14-day quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents that test negative for COVID-19 prior to and upon arrival, I believe there is a clear opportunity for long-awaited progress. I ask for your support and assistance in providing parity to American citizens seeking to enter Canada who meet the same requirements imposed on Canadians returning from travel. This is a sensible step forward that will bring immediate relief to border communities as we continue our work towards fully restoring cross-border travel.
The full letter can be read on Congresswoman Stefanik’s website.
New York State Senator Daniel Stec said people deserve to see their loved ones. “I hear from constituents all the time that they have a new grandchild on the other side of the border that they haven’t been able to see yet,” Stec said. “Or I have a family member that is ill on the other side of the border that I can’t see.”
Vermont’s lone state Representative Peter Welch said Canada’s announcement is long overdue. “Too many Vermonters have experienced the heartbreak of being separated from their loved ones and the passing of moments they will never get back.” Welch said. “The Biden Administration needs to act without delay in ensuring this change is reflected on both sides of the border.”
Even though the current issue stems from U.S. federal government, Sen. Stec said Canada needed a nudge to set the reopening date in the first place. “Sometimes your friend needs a push to do the right thing,” Stec said. “And I think we have been trying to do that.”
Assemblyman Billy Jones said he now calls on our federal partners, including the Biden Administration, to prioritize fully and safely reopening the border. “It is necessary for the overall well-being of our residents and our economies to have the border opened on both sides,” Assemblyman Jones said.
Vermont Governor Scott said in a statement he looks forward to welcoming our neighbors to the north back to the Green Mountain State.