The border crossing between the U.S. and Canada in Houlton. Credit: Alexander MacDougall / Houlton Pioneer Times

MADAWASKA, Maine — The border between the U.S. and Canada will remain closed until at least June 21, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced on its Twitter page this morning. This comes one day before the previous deadline for reopening, May 21.

U.S. and Canadian officials have consistently moved back the border opening date each month. It has been sealed — with very few exceptions for essential travel — since March 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he wants the world’s longest international border to remain closed until at least 75 percent of Canadians are fully vaccinated. Less than 40 percent currently have their first dose.

In the U.S., calls to open the border come from across party lines, with advocates like U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, saying that the closure continues to harm nearby communities. In a Tuesday statement, Collins suggested that the border could open in a limited capacity with relatively low public health danger.

“Individuals who have been recently tested or vaccinated pose a low risk and should be able to visit family members and shop at small businesses across the border,” she said.

Collins has been lobbying to ease border restrictions since at least last summer, having written multiple times to former President Donald Trump and several administration officials.

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Hannah Catlin

Hannah Catlin is a reporter at the St. John Valley Times/Fiddlehead Focus in Madawaska, Maine.