The border closure between the US and Canada has just been extended again, through at least March 21, 2021.
Canada border closed to Americans through March 21
The border between the US and Canada has been closed for non-essential travel since March 21, 2020. The border closure has consistently been extended for a month at a time. Until a couple of days ago the border closure was in place through February 21, 2021, while the closure has now been extended through March 21, 2021.
That marks a full year of the border between the two countries being closed, and it also marks the first border closure extension that has been announced since President Biden took office.
The travel restrictions are intended to slow 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 travel to the US if arriving by air, though Americans aren’t allowed to travel to Canada
- The US requires a negative coronavirus test no more than 72 hours prior to traveling to the US, while Canada has even more stringent entry restrictions
Canadians continue to be able to travel to the US by air
Coronavirus in the US vs. Canada
How do case numbers actually compare in the US & Canada? The situation in both countries is improving considerably in recent weeks.
Comparing the situation since the start of the pandemic:
- The US has seen a total of 28.2 million cases and 500K deaths, with a population of 328 million
- Canada has seen a total of 851K cases and over 21,700 deaths, with a population of 38 million
Since the start of the pandemic, the US has seen 3.8x as many cases per capita, and 2.7x as many deaths per capita.
Fortunately the situation in both countries is improving. Comparing the seven day average in the two countries:
- The US is seeing ~67,000 cases per day and 1,994 deaths per day
- Canada is seeing ~2,900 cases per day and 59 deaths per day
As you can see, Canada is still doing much better, but cases and deaths are dropping at a drastic rate in both countries, which is fantastic. In particular, in the US we’ve seen a huge drop in cases, and it looks like we’re slowly seeing a corresponding drop in deaths, with the expected lag.
The US has seen a lot more cases & deaths than Canada
For Canada this is about restricting movement
Even with the situation in both Canada and the US improving, it seems highly likely that borders won’t reopen in the next few months.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has added significant border restrictions in recent weeks, including banning most flights from the Caribbean and Mexico, and also requiring a hotel quarantine for most travelers arriving from abroad, in addition to at least three coronavirus tests.
It seems clear that the goal is to restrict travel as much as possible, even for people arriving from countries with lower infection rates than Canada. For example, even someone coming to Canada from New Zealand would have to undergo a hotel quarantine, get tested three times, and more.
It seems unlikely the border will reopen anytime soon
The border between the US & Canada continues to be closed through at least March 21, 2021, 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. However, Canadians do have to undergo a significant testing and quarantine regime to return home from abroad.
With the Canadian government trying to restrict international travel as much as possible, it seems likely that current restrictions will remain in place.
When do you think we’ll see the US & Canadian border reopen?