Video source: YouTube, Global News
Canada is loosening travel restrictions for Canadians fully vaccinated against COVID-19 starting July 5, however the border will remain closed to US citizens and residents.
The changes announced Monday marked the first phase of Canada’s easing of public health measures and did not address any timeline for when the country will reopen to nonessential foreign travelers.
On Sunday, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said the government aims to reach a vaccination rate of 75% before fully reopening the border between the US and Canada for nonessential travel.
About 75% of Canadians age 12 and older have received one dose of a vaccine, but only 20% are fully vaccinated.
Canadian officials are expecting the delivery of more than 68 million vaccine doses over the next six weeks, which is enough to fully vaccinate 80% of the country.
On Friday, the Canadian and US governments agreed to extend border restrictions on nonessential travel until July 21 as the country works to get a higher percentage of Canadians fully vaccinated.
The travel ban, which has been in effect since March 2020, has kept families apart, blocked tourists and students and hampered the world’s largest bilateral trading relationship.
Trains and trucks have continued to move goods, but Canada’s tourism and travel-related businesses lost an estimated C$20 billion ($16 billion) in revenue last year.
American politicians have also grown increasingly frustrated with the pace of reopening.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) denounced Friday’s decision to keep border measures in place for at least another month and said the US and Canada need to work on getting the border open immediately.
Brian Higgins (D-NY) and Bill Huizenga (R-MI), co-chairs of the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group, said, “The inability of the U.S. and Canadian governments to reach an agreement on alleviating border restrictions … is simply unacceptable.”
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