As pressure intensifies for the U.S. and Canada to reopen borders for non-essential travel between the two countries, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears to ready to throttle back restrictions put in place to guard against the spread of COVID-19.
According to Politico, the Canadian government could be ready to ease border protocols as early as June 22. That’s the day after a month-to-month agreement between the two nations, which implements border restrictions, is set to expire. That arrangement has been in place since shortly after the pandemic began.
The mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario, told Politico that Canada’s Public Safety Minister Bill Blair delivered the message about the potential changes during a recent virtual meeting of border mayors from the province.
“He didn’t put it in stone but he suggested that [June 22] is the date they’re looking at,” said mayor Jim Diodati.
This news comes as Bloomberg is reporting that Canada is gearing up to ease its restrictions for vaccinated travelers. Currently anyone entering the country — even those who are fully vaccinated — must quarantine for 14 days. The proposed new guidelines would reduce the isolation period.
The Biden Administration has been feeling the heat to open up the border — without Canada, if necessary — from the battered tourism sector, as well as families who have not seen their relatives up north for more than a year. Trudeau has heard similar complaints about the need to allow non-essential travel, but he has been adamant that he will not be pressured to open the borders earlier than he thinks is prudent. A week ago, the prime minister said this when asked about border restrictions:
Trudeau has said he wants to wait to loosen public health restrictions until at least 75 percent of Canada’s population have their first Covid vaccine doses and 20 percent are fully vaccinated. As of May 29, more than 68 percent of Canadian adults had received at least one dose, but just over 7 percent are fully vaccinated.
Windsor mayor Drew Dilkins also took part in the call with Canada’s Blair, who is directly overseeing the country’s border protocols. “It’s their belief and their projections that we can reach [Trudeau’s] target by June 21,” Dilkens said. “He said they’re looking for a phased and logical staged reopening.”