The United States on Friday extended limits on travel deemed non-essential at its northern and southern land borders, even after Canada started accepting American tourists.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the 30-day extension, saying it was aimed at minimizing the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
“In coordination with public health and medical experts, DHS continues working closely with its partners across the United States and internationally to determine how to safely and sustainably resume normal travel,” the agency said in a statement.
COVID-19 is caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
The Delta variant of the virus in particular drove the extension, officials said.
The U.S. has kept land borders with Canada and Mexico closed since March 2020, repeatedly extending the closures during the COVID-19 pandemic even when COVID-19 metrics decreased significantly.
In recent weeks, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States have risen sharply as vaccine effectiveness wanes.
Canada announced last month that U.S. tourists could begin visiting the country on Aug. 9, but only if they were fully vaccinated against the CCP virus.
Fully vaccinated means a person has received the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna series, or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
So far, it does not include booster shots that were recently recommended for even healthy adults.
U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents can still return to the United States from Canada or Mexico, or any of the other countries from which America has restricted visitors.
The closures also don’t affect illegal immigration, which has skyrocketed under President Joe Biden, or the tens of thousands of Afghans being flown into the United States, not all of whom are being tested for COVID-19. Republicans have repeatedly hit the Biden administration over the border crisis, which shows no signs of slowing down.
Even some Democrats have expressed disappointment at the continued land border closures.
“The safety of NH’s families amid the Delta surge is my #1 priority, but this is disappointing news for border communities,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) said Friday on Twitter.
“NH businesses can’t fully conduct trade & tourism, and families across the border are still separated. We must reopen the border to those who are vaccinated,” she added.