The border crossing between the United States and Canada in Houlton. Cars block entry gates to travelers while the border remains closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Credit: Alexander MacDougall

HOULTON, Maine — The United States and Canada have extended the border closure until July 21.

The border between the two countries has been closed to noncommercial and nonemergency traffic since mid-March to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between the two countries.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the extension on June 16. The border closure has been extended several times since the original announcement, and was set to expire Sunday, June 21.

Immediate family members of Canadian citizens, as well as Canadians in the United States who show no signs of COVID-19, are allowed to enter into Canada, alongside any other travel deemed “essential,” such as trade or health care work. Anyone entering Canada to visit family will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

Canada is approaching 100,000 reported cases of COVID-19, compared to more than 2 million reported cases in the United States. In many of the U.S. states that border Canada, such as Maine, cases remain much lower than in other parts of the country.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins has written a letter to Chad Wolf, the acting secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, requesting that cross-border travel by American families and local businesses near the Canadian border be considered “essential travel.”

“There have been fewer than 180 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Aroostook and

Washington counties, Maine, and bordering New Brunswick, Canada,” wrote Collins. “The risks of significant cross-border transmission among those jurisdictions appear to be low at this time.”