The United States will keep its borders with Canada and Mexico closed for non-essential travel until at least Oct. 21, said the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Friday.
“We continue to work with our Canadian and Mexican partners to slow the spread of #COVID19. Accordingly, we have agreed to extend the limitation of non-essential travel at our shared land ports of entry through October 21,” acting Secretary Chad Wolf wrote.
The border has been closed for six months because of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.
“The U.S.-Canada land border serves as an economic engine that supports over $1.7 billion (USD) dollars in daily cross-border trade. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States and Canada are temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across its borders. In each of our countries, we are encouraging people to exercise caution by avoiding unnecessary contact with others. This collaborative and reciprocal measure is an extension of that prudent approach,” said the DHS in a news release in August.
“Non-essential” travel includes transportation for tourism or recreation.
The news release said that the United States and Canada both “recognize it is critical we preserve supply chains between both countries.”
“These supply chains ensure that food, fuel, and life-saving medicines reach people on both sides of the border. Supply chains, including trucking, will not be impacted by this new measure. Americans and Canadians also cross the land border every day to do essential work or for other urgent or essential reasons, and that travel will not be impacted,” according to the DHS.
The continuation of the travel ban does not cover trade or travel by air. It was first imposed in March and has been rolled over several times. The current range of restrictions runs out on Sept. 21 before it was extended Friday.
Statistics Canada said last week that U.S. visits to Canada by automobile had plummeted by more than 95 percent in August compared to August 2019. Canada’s tourism industry says it faces disaster unless Ottawa steps in to help.
Last week, the United States recorded about 37,000 new cases of the CCP virus, also known as the novel coronavirus, per day in the last week. Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New Jersey, South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Wyoming, and Washington have reported increases in cases in recent days, officials said.
But Europe has seen a significant uptick in CCP virus cases in recent weeks. World Health Organization (WHO) regional director Dr. Hans Kluge said that the region’s “tally exceeded 300,000 patients.”
“More than half of European countries have reported a greater than 10 percent increase in cases in the past two weeks. Of those, seven countries have seen newly reported cases increase more than two-fold in the same period,” he said this week.
Reuters contributed to this report.