US & Canada Border Closure Extended (Again)

Filed Under: Travel

Unsurprisingly, Americans shouldn’t expect to be able to travel to Canada anytime soon, as the border closure is expected to once again be extended.

Canada closes border to Americans through December 21

The border between the US and Canada has been closed for non-essential travel since March 21. Up until this point the border has been closed for non-essential travel through November 21. It’s now being reported that the border closure will be extended through December 21, 2020.

This marks the eighth extension, as we’ve always seen the border closure extended by a month at a time (first through April 21, then through May 21, then through June 21, then through July 21, then through August 21, then through September 21, then through October 21, then through November 21, and now through December 21).

This is being done to control the spread of coronavirus. This prevents most non-essential travel, but select essential travelers, as well as goods, are still allowed to cross the border.

There are a couple of further things to note:

  • Americans are allowed to transit Canada enroute to a third country, but only if remaining in sterile transit
  • Canadians are allowed to vacation in the US if arriving by air, though Americans aren’t allowed to vacation in Canada

Canadians continue to be able to travel to the US by air

Trudeau warns not to expect the policy to change

While the border closure is currently through December 21, it seems highly likely that it will be extended beyond that. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the following during an interview last month, suggesting the situation in the US would have to materially change for the border to reopen:

“We have committed to keeping Canadians safe and we keep extending the border closures because the United States is not in a place where we would feel comfortable reopening those borders. We see the cases in the United States and elsewhere around the world, and we need to continue to keep these border controls in place.”

Across the board, any travel over the coming months (especially internationally) really will have to be planned last minute, given how often restrictions are being updated.

A vast majority of Canadians continue to remain opposed to borders reopening. I certainly can’t blame them for that, especially when you consider that Canadians continue to be allowed to vacation in the US if traveling by air (not that they’d necessarily want to, but they can).

Canadians overwhelmingly oppose the border reopening

Coronavirus in the US vs. Canada

How do case numbers actually compare in the US & Canada?

  • The US has seen a total of 11.6 million cases and 250K deaths, with a population of 328 million
  • Canada has seen a total of 311K cases and over 11K deaths, with a population of 38 million

While case numbers are currently increasing in both countries, there’s simply no arguing that the situation is much worse in the US than Canada.

The US has seen 4.3x as many cases per capita, and 2.6x as many deaths per capita.

The US has seen a lot more cases & deaths than Canada

Bottom line

The border between the US & Canada continues to be closed through at least December 21, 2020, though it’s highly likely the closure will be extended beyond that. Canadians continue to be able to vacation in the US (if they want), while the opposite isn’t true, so I can’t blame Canadians for the sentiment…

When do you think we’ll see the US & Canadian border reopen?

  1. Very hypocritical not to allow Americans to fly to Canada and visit, but Canadians flying to the US and visiting Florida is 100%.

  2. Americans should keep Canadians out forever.

    Cases there are surging there so rapidly, and since lockdowns and border crossing clearly work, we should ban Canada for life.

    What an awful country. Could you imagine living there? Me neither!

    Doug in Portugal

  3. For some this matters, but as for me (and I assume quite a few others), Canada is the one of the last places I want to be over the winter months COVID or not.

  4. I would love to see Canada allow Americans to visit with a negative Covid test. This is being safely done in a number of places around the world, and Canada’s ski industry needs American tourists this winter.

  5. Absolutely orwellian. I work for a Canadian based company, and the fact that I have to deal with remote work for a few more months is sickening.

    Will be filing a lawsuit with whatever agency controls the border over there in a matter of weeks.


  6. With over 10 million cases and 220k death, some Americans are blaming Canada for not opening the border. Funny right?

  7. @John, are you for real? Over a quarter of a million people have died in the US because of thoughtless people who don’t wear masks and wash their hands. All travel should be banned until people start behaving more responsibly. I would not waste your time on a lawsuit. Canadians can’t even visit the Maritimes, and that ban was upheld in court.

  8. The amount of broken sarcasm detector along with all the poorly-phrased sarcastic comments is recipe for dumpster fire.

    The internet came up with /s. Just use it.

  9. Justin Trudeau is a jerk. He is banning even some essential travel as seen on the news. They need to be more reasonable. Some non-essential travel is allowed but some essential travel is banned.

  10. NPR had a story this morning about this very subject including a perfectly legal service for Canadian’s wanting to bring their cars down to Florida for winter where they are helicoptered across the border while there cars are transported on a flat-bed truck.

  11. @derek What non-essential travel is still allowed? I am curious about this.

    My issue is (correct me if this is wrong) that the ban is based upon passport, instead of where people have been in the last few weeks, as I have read reports of Americans being denied the ability to fly through Canada to transfer to the US.

  12. @Janet..Canada does not count motorcycle deaths, cancer, heart disease, as Covid deaths like the U.S. does. If you tell a hospital we’ll give you more money for each case you call Covid your numbers are always going to be inflated. Follow the money, new disease, new vaccine = $$$$$$

  13. @Roman, that is completely untrue. Just look at the jump in mortality in the US. Statistics don’t lie. In contrast, Japan’s mortality has actually dropped as COVID deaths are insignificant and flu related deaths fell due to the extra precautions people took. The careless attitude of people like you towards COVID is why Americans are dying at such a depressingly high rate and why our hospitals are overflowing.

  14. I get why the closures are being extended one month at a time, but I’d really love it if someone would just announce an estimate on just how far into 2021 this border closure will end up being (since we all know it’s getting extended again in December)…

  15. @Janet, the Case Fatality Rate in Canada is 3.6%. The CFR in the US is 2.2%, lower than both Canada and the global average. The US has more C-19 cases, but the fatality rate is far lower.

  16. Well Wiarton Willie just predicted that it looks like 6 more months of winter (no socializing with Americans) here in Canada.

    Our groundhogs are bigger, slower and sleep during the summer. Too hot for them.

    And have no concept of time, space or travel inspiration.

  17. This makes perfect sense. I love Canada and the Canadians, and they’re doing exactly as they should during a global pandemic in which the federal govt. of their neighbor to the south doesn’t give a f*ck about covid. Sure, a bunch of States are trying to do the right thing (thank G-d I live in California!), but until there’s a federal mandate on universal mask wearing, we’re f*cked. And the death toll will continue surging… I think the U.S.-Canadian border won’t open until the summer. Canada will likely keep extending closures for non-essential travel on a monthly basis.

  18. I don’t know why Canada doesn’t just come out and say no Americans until next summer instead of this multiple delay openings. Easiest way to get rid of covid is do exactly what Taiwan and New Zealand did. Complete lockdown for a month or two and everything goes back to normal. Until people realize that here in the US, we will just have to sit tight for vaccines.

  19. @Kevin +1
    I normally live in the US, but I am in NZ now for work; and life here is as normal as it gets. Anyone arriving from overseas has to be in mandatory managed isolation for 2 weeks with 2 COVID tests while in isolation, which I had to do when I arrived in October, but totally worth it.

  20. “The US has seen 4.3x as many cases per capita, and 2.6x as many deaths per capita.”

    So in other words, a notable but not huge asymmetry. So if both sides are suffering from this epidemic at roughly the same rate in the grand perspective, how exactly is this closure going to protect anyone?

    Pure paranoia on the part of the Canadians. Personally, I’m cautious and won’t travel until the vaccines are out – but I just find it wrong to single out certain countries, nationalities, etc, based on fear and not facts.

  21. @Marco, really, 2.6 times as many deaths is not huge asymmetry. I am guessing that you are not family to one of the 160,000 Americans who would not have died if the results had been the same in the US as Canada. The average age of Canadians is also 2.7 years older than Americans, so the discrepancy in death rates is even more alarming.
    Also, average test positivity rate is, even now, about 5%, while it is well over 10% in the US, so the discrepancy in actual case rates is even much worse than the 4.3 times noted.

  22. @YoLaViajera is correct.

    Whereas, David and Marco might wish to brush up on their facts versus fiction or just plain stop the hate.

  23. @Marco “The US has seen 4.3x as many cases per capita, and 2.6x as many deaths per capita.” That means the US has about a 430% more cases per capita then Canada. That is pretty significant.

    Unfortunately this closure has nothing to do with Canada / US relations or politics. It is just science, the more people move about, the more it fuels the spread of the virus.

  24. @Roman, your news source is so reliable:

    “Overall, we rate RT Questionable based on promoting pro-Russian propaganda, promotion of conspiracy theories, numerous failed fact checks and a lack of author transparency”

    and, right from their own website:

    “RT is an autonomous, non-profit organization that is publicly financed from the budget of the Russian Federation”—and we know how trustworthy Putin is

    Show me an article from CNN, NYT, Bloomberg, WSJ, BBC backing up your claims (NOT Breitbart News and the like).

    Enough with the Canada bashing. Our infection rate is so much higher that I don’t blame them in the least. Over and over again experts (including Heritage Foundation and former commissioner of the FDA—a Trump appointee no less— Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who just reiterated as much on CNBC this AM) have said that movement (tracked via phone GPS) is highly correlated with spikes in Covid. Less movement, less Covid. It is simple as that. Even if it just prevents some community spread, border restrictions are one more tool to use in managing the reach of disease. It is the ONLY solution? For most countries, no. But it can help in some circumstances.

    We have zero Federal response to managing the pandemic, only an inconsistent patchwork of state/local rules. So, much of the world looks at us not with envy, but horror. I should know, I live in “let ‘er rip” Florida where our governor has hamstrung any local pushback to slavish adherence to the Great Barrington Doctrine nonsense of just letting the wave wash over the state to achieve herd immunity. What a joke. Except, now, case load and deaths are rising again. Not so funny.

  25. @Alan, the reason that the fatality rate is higher in Canada is because unfortunately particularly early in the pandemic Covid was rife in senior homes. As has been pointed out the average age of Canadians succumbing to Covid is higher than the longevity of the average American. The number of cases in the US per capital is more than 4x Canadians because we have stupidly politicized basic health like wearing masks and have kept super spread locations like bars open. So a lot more young people have been infected. They in turn are spreading to older people and we are likely to see 2000+ deaths per day for the next few months, which sadly will push up the US mortality rate.
    @Roman, As has been noted, RT is a Russian prop a machine. Perhaps you are a Russian bot?

    I would love to see travel between the US and Canada restored. But given how the virus is spreading right now, it is the responsibility of Every American and Canadian to hunker down, stay home and stop the spread for a few more months until the vaccine is available to the general public. Travel is a luxury no one needs. No one has any legitimate reason to travel at this moment unless it is to look after a loved one who is ill.

  26. No one has any legitimate reason to travel at this moment? I know some people who travel to keep N95 mask production up and running. I hope they get your blessing. Not everything can be done from a desk.

  27. Here in the province of Nova Scotia we currently have a total of 23 people sick with Covid-19. Only 1 person is hospitalized (and not in ICU).

    Yet some Americans – living in a country where more than 250,000 of their fellow citizens have died of the Coronavirus – are furious that Canadians want the border to stay closed???

  28. @Super VC10

    Know that many of us Americans are with you 100 percent. We in the U.S. can rest a little easier now knowing that the Calvary is coming in 2021 (sane federal leadership) but, sadly, 2020 is a total loss.

    You live in a beautiful province. I hope to revisit once again after this tragedy has passed. Stay safe!

  29. The only thing that the Canadian government needs to tighten up is all the exemptions that their CBSA has granted to certain people with money. Having an executive travel to meet with employees at a Canadian job site is reckless during a pandemic, and scandalous that the Trudeau administration simply looks the other way and allows it to happen.

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