US borders with Canada, Mexico to remain closed
Only essential travel will be allowed
According to the Department of Homeland Security, the US borders with Canada and Mexico will be restricted until at least June 21, with only trade and essential travel permitted until then.
In a tweet on Thursday, the DHS confirmed the move, but added that it is “working closely with Canada and Mexico to safely ease restrictions as conditions improve.”
The agency, along with its Canadian and Mexican counterparts, initially closed the northern and southern borders of the United States to leisure travelers in March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the restrictions have been extended on a monthly basis.
What is happening in Canada
In the year since, Canada has tightened border security, requiring that anyone who enters by plane or land be tested for COVID-19 ahead of time. Furthermore, anyone traveling to Canada from the United States must demonstrate that they are doing so for essential reasons and must be quarantined upon arrival.
Canada announced in February that cruise ships would be prohibited from entering its waters until 2022. Legislators have since worked to save the 2021 Alaska cruise season. The Alaska Tourism Restoration Act, passed by the United States Senate last week, would allow large cruise ships to skip required stops in Canadian ports while traveling between Washington and Alaska.
Earlier this month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that he would prefer to wait until 75 percent of his country has been vaccinated before fully reopening the border; as of Thursday, 48.1 percent had been at least partially vaccinated.
What is happening in Mexico
Southbound travel from the United States into Mexico’s northern border cities has been unrestricted since the outbreak began, and Americans can still fly there. However, the governor of Quintana Roo state, which includes the tourist-friendly towns of Cancun, Cozumel, and Tulum, warned last week that the state was in danger of “imminent lockdown” due to a five-week increase in COVID-19 cases.
Gov. Carlos Joaqun suggested that increased tourism around Easter contributed to the increase. According to anecdotal evidence, tourists are drawn to Mexico’s Caribbean resorts in part because there is no lockdown and sanitary measures are mostly voluntary. When they arrive at their hotels or beach clubs, many visitors remove their masks.
Approximately 12.5 percent of Mexicans are fully vaccinated, with an additional 8.3 percent having received their first shot. As of Thursday, 38.2% of Americans were fully vaccinated, while 48.1 percent were only partially vaccinated.