Governments of both the United States and Canada today announced that both countries will be extending a ban on all non-essential travel (i.e., for recreational purposes) across their borders for further 30 days, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to plague North America.
The jointly-approved restrictions on cross-border travel, first issued in March and renewed in April, were set to expire on Wednesday, May 20, but will now remain in effect through at least June 22, 2020. The cross-border travel ban notably does not apply to trade or supply-chain operations.
The injunction against non-essential crossings at the U.S.’ Canadian and Mexican borders, the renewed order states, are being reevaluated by federal health officials every 30 days and are subject to an indefinite period of extension, dependent upon the future course of the current health crisis.
At a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event, acting Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, Chad Wolf, remarked, “What we don’t want to do is try to open up parts of our economy and have a lot of folks coming across the border that we haven’t seen in the past 50 or 60 days.”
Wolf also said in a statement that measures taken to lock down border security over the past few months have been thus far successful and that, “now is not the time to change course.” He asserted, “Non-essential travel will not be permitted until this administration is convinced that doing so is safe and secure.”
While Reuters reported that no immediate comment was forthcoming from Mexico’s Foreign Ministry, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, said of the U.S.-Canada accord, “This is an important decision that will keep people in both of our countries safe.” He stated that, when the time comes to restart non-essential travel, Canada will need “to have strong measures in place.”
Concurrently, the White House declared its extension of pandemic-associated policies that permit rapid deportations of migrants found attempting to cross at American borders, according to a health emergency order from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).