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HOULTON, Maine — U.S. travelers who want to enter Canada will have to wait at least another month.
Bill Blair, the Canadian minister of public safety, tweeted that the border closure, which has been in place for more than a year, will be renewed for another month, after the current order expires June 21. New Brunswick officials had hoped for a July 1 reopening date.
“Our No. 1 priority as we fight COVID19 is keeping Canadians safe,” Blair wrote. “In coordination with the U.S., we are extending restrictions on non-essential international travel and with the United States until July 21st, 2021.”
U.S. Reps Brain Higgins, D-New York, and Bill Huizenga, D-Michigan, co-chairs of the bi-national Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group, condemned the decision and called for increased transparency during the ongoing negotiations between the two countries.
“While the arrival of vaccines in record time has been a modern marvel, the inability of the U.S. and Canadian governments to reach an agreement on alleviating border restrictions or aligning additional essential traveler classes is simply unacceptable,” the congressmen said.
The move comes despite provincial governments relaxing pandemic restrictions, allowing for greater travel. The government of New Brunswick, for instance, moved into its second phase of its “Path to Green” reopening plan ahead of schedule, with 70 percent of its adult population receiving one COVID-19 shot and 20 percent of its population 65 and older fully vaccinated.
Under the new phase of the program, the province had stated that Mainers and fully vaccinated international travelers would be allowed to enter the province. But with the Canadian government extending the federal travel ban, Mainers still will not be allowed to enter the province, unless they have Canadian family members or are dual citizens.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also announced that his government will begin to lift quarantine restrictions for those permitted to enter Canada. The Canadian government is expected to roll out a vaccination certification program on its ArriveCan app next month to ease international travel, the CBC reported.