U.S. Extends Land Border Closure With Canada, Mexico Until Sept. 21
The Department of Homeland Security extended the land border closure with Canada and Mexico on Friday until September even as both countries have opened to the United States.
"To minimize the spread of #COVID19, including the Delta variant, the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel at our land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico through September 21, while continuing to ensure the flow of essential trade and travel," DHS tweeted. "In coordination with public health and medical experts, DHS continues working closely with its partners across the United States and internationally to determine how to safely and sustainably resume normal travel."
The land border has been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020 and has been extended on a monthly basis since. The closure does not apply to U.S. citizens coming back into the country after traveling abroad to Mexico or Canada, both of which welcome American tourists.
Canada, which plans to require air and cruise passengers to be vaccinated in order to travel by the fall, opened its borders to fully-vaccinated U.S. tourists on Aug. 9, allowing them to arrive by both land and air. Travelers must be vaccinated at least two weeks before their trip, get tested before going, and upload their documents to the ArriveCAN app or website.
Similarly, Mexico welcomes U.S. tourists who fly there.
While DHS extended the land border closure, the Department of State and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have each lowered their travel advisories for Canada to a "Level 2," indicating a "moderate" level of COVID-19 in the country. The CDC classifies Mexico as a "Level 3," indicating a "high" incidence of COVID-19.
Canada has so far outpaced the U.S. when it comes to vaccinations. In Canada, 71.95% of residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and 63.86% are fully vaccinated, according to the government. In the U.S., 60.2% of people have received at least one dose and 51.1% are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
While the Biden administration is currently looking into a way to potentially welcome fully-vaccinated foreign travelers, it's not immediately clear when that would happen. Tori Emerson Barnes, the executive vice president of public affairs and policy for the U.S. Travel Association, told Travel + Leisure she believed vaccines were the way to protect Americans from the coronavirus, not border restrictions.
"Every day that our land borders remain closed delays America's economic and jobs recovery, causing greater damage to the millions of people whose livelihoods depend on travel and tourism," she said in a statement shared with T + L.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.