White House officials announced that the country's land borders with Canada and Mexico will be reopened to vaccinated travelers starting in November. The reopening is expected to boost tourism, while also allowing families separated by the pandemic to be finally reunited.
Tourists and those who wish to visit family and friends in the U.S. must provide proof that they are fully vaccinated at border gates when they reopen next month. The reopening of the land borders comes just weeks after U.S. President Joe Biden also announced a similar lifting of travel restrictions for fully vaccinated international travelers.
Land borders into the U.S. from Canada and Mexico have been closed for the last 19 months. Their reopening represents the last steps in the country's lifting of travel restrictions for all vaccinated visitors. This will effectively turn the U.S. into a suitable travel destination for vaccinated foreigners. Administration officials have made it clear that those who choose not to get vaccinated will be barred from entering the country.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand from New York praised the administration's decision to reopen its Canadian and Mexican land borders and welcoming back vaccinated non-essential travelers. Gillibrand said the reopening of the borders should help revitalize the U.S. economy, which has been losing out on an estimated $1.5 billion in business earnings each month due to the Canadian travel restrictions alone.
"This reopening will be welcome news to countless businesses, medical providers, families, and loved ones that depend on travel across the northern border," Gillibrand said.
The Canadian and Mexican borders were closed to non-essential travelers in March 2020 after COVID-19 had spread throughout the country. Travelers such as returning U.S. citizens, students, and essential workers were the only ones allowed to cross since then.
As more people got vaccinated in both Canada and Mexico, officials from both countries have pleaded with the U.S. to reopen its land borders to help businesses recover and to help reunite families.
Senator Chuck Schumer also praised the Biden administration for heeding the pleas of officials representing the communities along the U.S. border. He said that Biden was "doing the right thing" in finally allowing cross-border travel.