Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26), who serves as co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus and the Canada-US Inter-Parliamentary Group, said the United States and Canada should follow guidelines implemented by their law enforcement agencies. healthcare and lift remaining pandemic-related border restrictions.
In remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives, Higgins said that in part, “increasing vaccination rates in the United States, Canada and around the world show that the communities that have done what he necessary and have followed the science can return to a vigilant sense of normalcy.Today, I call on the governments of the United States and Canada to follow the scientific guidance of their health agencies and fully reopen the Canadian border to travelers without COVID restrictions.
The Canada-US border was first closed to non-essential travel in March 2020 due to the pandemic. The Canadian border reopened on August 9, 2021, and the United States reopened on November 8, 2021, each with different restrictions.
In recent days, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidelines indicating, based on measurement of COVID hospitalization and infection rates, that it is safe for Americans from most communities, if they choose, not to wear a mask. .
In Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Health has lifted capacity limits for indoor settings and proof of vaccination requirements for all settings effective March 1, 2022.
As of February 28, 2022, over 81% of Canadians and over 65% of Americans were fully immunized, resulting in lower community spread, fewer hospitalizations, and the lifting of COVID-related restrictions in US states and Canadian provinces. Still, the United States and Canada require proof of vaccination to cross the border, and the Canadian government also continues to require a negative test.
Before the pandemic, more than 10.5 million people crossed the United States each year in passenger vehicles through the Buffalo Niagara Falls border crossings, many spending money on restaurants, hotels, sports destinations and local cultures.
Higgins points out that the restrictions continue to discourage the free flow of travel that benefits both nations: “Two years ago, the border between the United States and Canada closed with devastating consequences for both countries economically and emotionally. Incredible progress has been made in the fight against COVID and it is time to remove the remaining disjointed and prohibitive restrictions at the US and Canadian borders.