US & Canada Border Closure To Be Extended

Filed Under: Travel

The border between the US and Canada has been closed for non-essential travel since March 21. Up until now the border has been closed for non-essential travel through September 21. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but it is now being reported that this will be extended by an additional month, through October 21, 2020.

As Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has described the closure:

“We recognize that the situation continues to be complex in the United States in regards to COVID-19. Every month, we have been able to extend the border closures to all but essential goods and services and those discussions are ongoing.”

This marks the sixth 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, and then through September 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 (though there are relatively few countries Americans can travel to, so that’s largely a moot point)
  • Canadians are allowed to vacation in the US if arriving by air, though Americans aren’t allowed to vacation in Canada

While cases in the US aren’t as bad as they were in July and August, I’d expect the border to remain closed for a while longer. 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).

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

  1. @Ben, I believe in a previous post when you discussed your travel back from Turkey you mentioned how you and Ford spent time in Germany visiting your mother (I thought anyways). Since you’re a German citizen and Ford is not (correct me if I’m wrong) did they give you any problems regarding his entry? I ask because according to the Bundesministerium des Innern website, who is the authority on border restrictions/entry into Germany, all German citizens and their immediate family (spouses, children) are exempt from the entry restrictions. This seems clear but when they saw his US passport did they require a marriage certificate, additional documentation? I’m about to travel with my wife back to Germany and we have the same situation so wanted to know more about it.

    Thank you

  2. @kq747 It’s a moot point. As in USA, very few Canadian airports have sterile transit. Toronto YYZ for example doesn’t.

  3. I suppose there’s not enough political pressure to make this happen, but I’m surprised they haven’t worked more towards a restricted opening with some combination of testing and quarantine procedures.

  4. Okay, its clear to me now. All the left wing countries (such as Canada, New Zealand) will stay in lockdown. To clear up the deficit they are probably going to raise taxes to 80-90% after all. Even Switzerland (the richest country in the world) declared that a second Lockdown would be too expensive and nobody could afford that. Just stop it! Its just ridiculous, political stuff.

  5. Travel could easily be permitted between Canada and any other country if the Canadian government and airport authorities agreed to institute a simple procedure: (1) all arriving passengers must quarantine for 2 days within range of a test site (the government could arrange quarantine sites for a reasonable price for all non-residents); (2) on the third day those passengers must report to a COVID-19 test site and then return to their quarantine; (3) test results are communicated to them between 24-48 hours. If the result is negative, they can leave quarantine and move about as all other Canadians are allowed to do in the present circumstances; if the result is positive (COVID-19 infection detected), they must remain in quarantine for the full 14 days (since arrival) or as long as they have any symptoms. This would mean a maximum 4-5 days quarantine for those who are not infected and would allow business and tourism travel to resume, enabling a significant recovery for the Canadian economy without risking the health of Canadians. (Admittedly those infected would be confined for two weeks, or more, but this should encourage ANY travellers to Canada to ensure their health or being tested before leaving their country.)

  6. @DenB Im not sure how you have decided that. It is perfectly possible to transit at YYZ and YUL without entering Canada. Ben just did this on his last trip. What I am asking is if it still possible to arrive in Canada and proceed straight to US pre clearance

  7. I wish Canada would allow cross-border transit for people from lower-risk states, like New England and New York, where the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests is the same or less than the percentage in Canada.

  8. Justin is a bigot, far worse than Trump, but the press leaves him alone. Many areas of Canada have higher Covid-19 than some areas of the US. Hawaii is far lower than Canada.

    Many Americans are unaware that the Canadian press is anti-American and that a significant number of Canadians (not a majority, though) are anti-American who have no problem stabbing us in the back. In contrast, no American hates Canada. This is why there are reports that Canadians support Justin’s border closure.

    The border should be open to important business and important family affairs but closing it to tourism is ok for now.

  9. As long as the snow birds can still fly to FL in the winter why would they care if the border is otherwise closed? Believe me they are coming down and aren’t comparing FL COVID-19 to their province.

  10. @J. D. I agree, we’re going to suffer the consequences eventually. Tax increases, debt to be passed to future generations or inflation/hyperinflation. Maybe all of these at some degree.

    I’m one of the few canadians against the border closures. The media has done a great job terrifying people here so the great majority is against any reopening despite the economic and social consequences.
    In addition, our federal government is involved in [yet another] corruption scandal so they can’t afford the backlash the reopening would generate.

    I totally understand Americans who feel insulted by these restrictions. We should figure out a way to reopen safely.

  11. @EC2

    Snowbirds won’t be coming down anytime soon, because insurance companies aren’t insuring the older(vulnerable) population.

    My parents had to cancel trips to both Arizona and Cyprus, because of this.

  12. Derek writes, “Many areas of Canada have higher Covid-19 than some areas of the US. Hawaii is far lower than Canada.”

    Well, of course. but both are pretty big countries. But do you expect Canada to impose varying restrictions state by state?

    Canada has reported less than 10 covid deaths per day most days for the last two months. The United States has reported more than 1,000 covid deaths most of those days. So the United States has roughly 10X the population of Canada (31M v 360M) but 100X the covid related deaths. I’m sure of the tables were turned, you would want to open the border…

  13. I predict cross border tourist travel will not resume until a vaccine or approved covid19 testing regime is in effect.

  14. Canadians would have to quarantine 14 days returning home, so no vacationers going to the US. Also, eastern half of Canada still closed to travel to Canadian travelers since March. Nothing’s opening anytime soon.

  15. @kq747, at YYZ all international arrivals must go through Canada Customs, even if connecting. Once you get past Customs, you are in Canada. Not sure about YUL.

  16. I’m a bit surprised, because other countries have pioneered the idea of allowing state-by-state restrictions, and this seems a purpose-built solution for the land border, where it should be obvious what state a traveler is coming from. But, then, I’m not that surprised, because border closures have been all about politics, with little concern for science.

  17. Countries will hold Trump’s incompetence against the US and I’m not sure why anyone is surprised at that. If you want to travel freely elect a competent President, accept the seriousness of the virus and help get rid of it.

    Ignoring it just makes you look foolish and you have to suffer the consequences of it and a terrible fool.

  18. @rich I’m sure you know that’s idiotic, right? So travel/immigration policy should be decided solely by the “host” country deciding whether the head-of-state from the country the travelers/immigrants are from is “competent?” Should we have banned Canadians during the Stephen Harper regime? I’m sure a plurality of Americans don’t like smug, racist Justin Trudeau (I find him competent, but he’s also both of those things). Should there be the possibility that Canadians can’t cross the border until he’s gone?

  19. Listen,

    This is beyond ridiculous. Toronto is still in phase II after 6 months and now with an entirely locked down society in a bubble they are now having a higher rate of COVID than NY which has been under 1% positivity rate for like a month and averaging around 700 cases a day in the entire state which is 70% the population of all Canada.

    All I know is that I cannot see my parents (in Canada) and we live in Buffalo area which is almost all open (despite the socialist Cuomo) and people are getting back to normal except for the government schools (private schools back in operation).

    Could it be no matter what we do transmission will happen NO MATTER WHAT and the virus needs to reach herd immunity. So we have vulnerable folks take extra precautions, and get back to business.

    So yes there are people who want to live in a warm safe bubble, I want to actually live. That doesnt mean not taking precautions, but it also doesnt mean the virus rules my families life.

  20. Two weeks to flatten the curve, we just need to make sure we do not overwhelm the health care system. Two more weeks.

  21. Canadians have to self-quarantine for 14 days after returning from US, so that’s the reason it’s not worth it for most people.

  22. @Derek

    The Prime Minister of Canada is a “bigot”? And on top of that “far worse than Trump”?

    Let me enlighten you… Justin Trudeau has participated in peaceful Black Lives Matter protests, has walked in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal’s Gay Pride, personally welcomed Syrian refugees, appointed an equal share of men and women to government postings including a woman as Deputy Prime Minister (Vice President in American terms).

    As for “Hawaii is far lower than Canada” in covid cases. You realize you are comparing a remote island to an entire country – how does that make any sense? It doesn’t, like everything else you said. So let’s compare apples to apples or in this case islands to islands…

    Hawaii has a total of 10,844 cases compared to some Canadian Islands… Prince Edward Island has 55 cases, Nova Scotia 1086 cases, Newfoundland and Labrador 271 cases. Even if you add up all 3 Canadian islands it’s you get 1412 cases compared to 10,844 in Hawaii. Mic drop!

    The Canadian Press is not anti-American. Canadian news organizations like a little thing called facts, something which seems lost with your current administration. The facts are covid numbers in The USA are still extremely high, you have a president who is not leading by example in wearing a mask, social distancing, holding rallies, a president who is undermining health and science all for political gain. In contrast our Prime Minister in keeping the border closed is protecting Canadians. Protecting their citizens should be EVERY world leaders top priority. Something Trump has failed to do.

    As for Canadians “stabbing American in the back”. Have you forgotten how Canada and Canadians were there for our American neighbours during 9/11? Shameful!

    Please do us all a favour and yourself… stop stirring that empty pot, stay off the blogs and spend more time on legit news sites.

  23. @iv

    Did Justin wear blackface to demonstrate his allyship with BLM? We know how he showed his allyship with SNC-Lavalin.

  24. @IV couldn’t have said it better myself. There are some very ignorant people with very ignorant comments on here. US is a shit show now with a hodgepodge of restrictions, rules, and openings and we have a supreme moron in chief who is a criminal and has no regard for anyone but himself.

  25. Why do certain Americans feel the need to tell Canada how to run our own country? Mind your own business, your country needs your attention.

    @DE, get your facts straight, Toronto hasn’t been in Stage 2 for almost 2 months now. When you’re so seriously misinformed, you really shouldn’t try to offer public health advice, especially when you’re still using that idiotic herd immunity argument (first, the population is far from getting it, and second, latest research show immunity only lasts a few months).

    Only poor countries that depend on tourism for their economy have opened up to certain US states. They’re trading lives for dollars, because they need US tourism dollars. Canada doesn’t.

  26. @David is 100% correct.

    As someone viewing the American Horror Story safely from a distance, I suggest re-opening the border might happen sometime in 2021, or 2022. Or maybe never. The Canadians seem to be enjoying not having Americans around.

  27. Whether done by the US, Canada, or any other country, this kind of blanket travel ban is just wrong and purely pandering to paranoia. And according to some of the posts above, at least some Canadians recognize this, so credit to those individuals.

    One thing we have seen with this pandemic is that tables turn very fast; yesterday’s reprieve areas become tomorrow’s hot spots.

    Seems like Canadians enjoy using the States as their playground, but when the going gets tough, they not only retreat but opt to shut the door behind them. Or at least, that’s my impression at this time.

    Canada, like any country, is absolutely within its rights to control its own borders. Just don’t ask your 10x bigger brother to the south (and west) for any favors next time around.

  28. @cargocult – Trudeau did something racist (though unfortunately common) ~20 years ago

    Trump did something racist…a week ago, a month ago, a month ago before that, etc. pretty much for ~40 years in a row

    Totally equivalent, no different whatsoever. nope none at all. “Many fine people on both sides”-ism at it’s absolute worst.

  29. I find it remarkable that the closest I get to crazy, politically-charged, dystopian social media is in the comments section of a blog about miles and points!

  30. This is a really tough situation for the residents of Point Roberts, Washington. It’s a five square mile exclave that is surrounded on three sides by water, and on the northern border by Canada. It’s impossible for residents of Point Roberts to transit Canada to the Washington state mainland, so they’re effectively marooned on a geopolitical island.

  31. @Marco
    What is missing from this is the USA border is also closed to Canadians. It is a mutual border closure. You can not drive either direction unless deemed essential. Many Canadians own property in for example Point Roberts Washington but can not get to their property to turn off the water etc. for the winter. So using your logic the US turned its back on Canadians.

  32. @TProphet,
    You are correct.
    But my understanding is that commercial traffic is allowed. Therefore trade continues.
    Am I inaccurate?

  33. @CJ

    Then, that’s wrong too. So let’s encourage both sides to argue for a more reasonable approach where they continue to welcome eachother with rational precautions.

  34. A lot of Americans seem to forget that US is the first nation to impose a blanket travel ban, when China has a few thousand cases.

    So it’s really puzzling why they are now complaining about Canada when US has a few million cases…

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