TORONTO (AP) — The U.S., Canada and Mexico have agreed to extend their agreements to keep their shared borders closed to non-essential travel to July 21 during the coronavirus pandemic
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday’s agreement extends the closure by another 30 days. The restrictions were announced on March 18 and were extended in April and May.
“This is a decision that will protect people on both sides of the border as we continue to fight COVID-19,” Trudeau said.
The acting U.S. secretary of homeland security, Chad Wolf, said in a statement that the department will continue to limit nonessential travel at land ports of entry with Canada and Mexico. Mexico’s Foreign Ministry also tweeted that the agreement had been extended.
Many Canadians fear a reopening. The novel coronavirus has sickened more than 2 million people in the U.S. and killed more than 115,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. It has sickened more than 99,000 and killed 8,175 in Canada.
Americans who are returning to the U.S. and Canadians who are returning to Canada are exempted from the border closure. Immediate family members of Canadians are also allowed entry into Canada, but must quarantine for 14 days.
And essential cross-border workers like healthcare professionals, airline crews and truck drivers are still permitted to cross. Truck drivers are critical as they move food and medical goods in both directions. Much of Canada’s food supply comes from or via the U.S.
Canada sends 75% of its exports to the U.S. and about 18% of American exports go to Canada. The U.S.-Canada border is world’s longest between two nations.
Trudeau said he is open to a Canadian city hosting National Hockey League games if if local health officials agree with it. The league plans to have training camps open in July and to play games without spectators in a couple of cities in late July or August.
“Canada is open to it so long as it is OK by the local health authorities,” he said.