Nonessential travel restrictions from Canada and Mexico do not apply to air, freight rail, or sea travel, and travelling by land is still permitted for a variety of reasons, including business, medical treatment, and educational opportunities in both countries. All international air travellers entering the United States must show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within three days of their departure or proof of recovery from the virus within 90 days of their departure.
Canada made the decision to reopen its border based on its vaccination progress — more than three quarters of the country has received at least one dose of vaccine, according to government data, a significantly higher percentage than the United States, which has received at least one dose of vaccine at a rate of slightly more than 56 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The reopening has been pushed for by residents both within and outside of the United States, and more than 2,800 people have signed up for a private Facebook group organised by the advocacy group Let Us Reunite.
Heather Kienle, a U.S. citizen who currently resides in Montreal, is one of the group’s members. Ms. Kienle has no trouble crossing the border, but her husband, who is a Canadian, does not have the same luck.
Consequently, Ms. Kienle, who is six months pregnant, frequently drives more than eight hours alone or with her 4-year-old daughter to West Babylon, New York, to care for her mother, who has endometrial cancer, in order to be near her family.
On Wednesday, Ms. Kienle described the experience as “extremely stressful” because she was travelling alone, without her husband, and also had to care for her daughter in the backseat.
Politicians from both political parties in the United States have also expressed opposition to the restrictions.
“Today’s decision by the Biden administration harms economic recovery and hurts families all across America’s northern border; this is completely unnecessary,” said Brian Higgins, a congressman from Western New York who represents a district that borders Canada.