Canada and the U.S. have agreed to extend the ban on non-essential travel across the border by 30 days, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday (May 19) at his daily address from the steps of Rideau Cottage.
This is the second time the border closure has been extended and will remain in effect until June 21. Trudeau said the newly extended agreement will operate under the same rules as it has before, with just trade and other essential travel continuing to be allowed.
The border has been closed to non-essential travel since mid-March to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. The U.S. has become the latest hotspot for COVID-19. According to John Hopkins University, the U.S. has more than 1.5 million of the world’s 4.8 million cases. In comparison, Canada had 79,411 as of Tuesday morning.
Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, several premiers, including B.C.’s, had publicly and privately put pressure on Ottawa to keep borders closed.
Trudeau declined to speculate about what the Canada–U.S. border would look like past June 21.
“The decisions we are making are very much made week to week in this crisis,” he said.
Trudeau said the further border closure gives Canada time to increase its contact tracing and other measures to ensure new flare ups don’t come from abroad.
According to the Canada Border Services Agency, travel across the border was down by 88 per cent at land crossing and 99 per cent for flights from the U.S. from May 11-17, compared to the same week a year ago.
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