U.S. Land Borders With Canada, Mexico Will Remain Closed to Nonessential Travel Until at Least October

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By Alison Fox – September 21, 2020 – “We have agreed to extend the limitation of non-essential travel at our shared land ports of entry through October 21,” Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said.

The land border closure between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico has been extended into October,  marking the latest delay in resuming nonessential travel between the neighboring nations.

“We continue to work with our Canadian and Mexican partners to slow the spread of #COVID19,” Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said, said in a tweet on Friday. “Accordingly, we have agreed to extend the limitation of non-essential travel at our shared land ports of entry through October 21.”

The shared land borders have been closed since March 18 and extended each month since.

Canada’s minister of public safety and emergency preparedness echoed the same sentiment on social media.

“We are extending non-essential travel restrictions with the United States until October 21st, 2020,” he said on Twitter. “We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe.”

The border closure applies to nonessential travel, but does not apply to trade and still allows for Americans returning to the U.S. and Canadians returning to Canada.

Americans traveling to or from Alaska are also allowed to drive through Canada, but must display a “hang-tag” during their trip and can only pass through certain border crossings, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.

There have been several instances of people flouting those rules, including one American tourist who violated the country’s travel restrictions at least twice in June to visit Banff National Park while traveling from Alaska. To combat people taking advantage of the Alaska loophole, Canadians started reporting U.S. license plates they spotted.

travel restriction sign
The Washington Post/Getty

In addition, while the U.S. reopened enrollment centers for its Global Entry program earlier this month, it continued to suspend interviews for NEXUS and the U.S.-Canada FAST programs in light of the land border closures.

In total, Canada has recorded more than 145,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. In recent weeks, however, the country has seen case numbers tick upwards, reporting 401 new cases in Ontario on Friday, the largest province, according to The Associated Press.

The U.S. has reported more than 6.8 million confirmed cases, the most in the world. Mexico has reported more than 697,600 confirmed cases.

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.

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