The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced the extension of restrictions on all non-essential travel across U.S., Canadian and Mexican borders for an additional month in light of the as-yet-uncontrolled coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement released yesterday, Acting DHS Secretary, Chad Wolf, wrote: “In close collaboration, the U.S., Mexico, and Canada have each agreed to extend restrictions on non-essential travel across their shared borders for 30 additional days. As President Trump stated last week, border control, travel restrictions and other limitations remain critical to slowing the spread and allowing the phased opening of the country.”
One month ago, President Trump announced a ban on non-essential crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border, just days after the U.S. and Canada similarly agreed to close borders to control the spread of COVID-19.
The original directives, jointly agreed upon by each respective government, were tentatively set to expire on April 21, 2020, but the unpredictable and unprecedented nature of the coronavirus pandemic is compelling worldwide governments to adapt their policies as the crisis continues to unfold.
Fox News found definitions, as outlined in the Federal Register, which clarified “non-essential travel” to mean border crossings for the purposes of tourism or recreation, while permissible, “essential travel” cross-border movements include:
—U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States;
—Individuals traveling for medical purposes (e.g., to receive medical treatment);
—Individuals traveling to attend their educational institutions;
—Individuals traveling to attend their jobs;
—Individuals traveling for public health and emergency response purposes (e.g., government officials or emergency responders);
—Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers transporting cargo);
—Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel;
—Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations; and members of U.S. Armed Forces and their immediate families returning to the United States.
According to Johns Hopkins’ COVID-19 Dashboard, the U.S. has thus far reported over 800,000 confirmed cases of the virus with more than 43,000 linked deaths, Canada reports nearly 39,000 positive cases and over 1,800 deaths, and Mexico is approaching 8,800 cases with over 700 fatalities.