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U.S. to reopen its land border to Canadians next month

OTTAWA — Rep. Brian Higgins says the United States is planning to lift Covid-19 restrictions at its land border next month for fully vaccinated Canadians.

Higgins (D-N.Y.), who has been one of the most outspoken lawmakers pushing for the border reopening, made the announcement in a statement late Tuesday.

“Strong vaccination rates in Canada made the continued border shutdown absurd and unjustifiable,” said Higgins, who co-chairs both the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group and the Northern Border Caucus. “For months now we’ve heard from businesses that are suffering and families distraught over the separation imposed by the continued border shutdown.”

The unanswered question is the precise date in November that the U.S. will ease back restrictions for visitors from Canada.

The Biden administration has been under intense pressure for months — from both sides of the border — to remove travel restrictions for vaccinated travelers at land ports of entry.

Canada started welcoming fully vaccinated U.S. visitors on Aug. 9. More than 80 percent of Canadians 12 years and older are fully vaccinated, giving the country one of the highest rates in the world.

Canada has been tightening its rules to further encourage vaccination rates to move even higher. Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled measures that mandate Covid vaccines for Canada’s public servants as well as workers and passengers in the federally regulated rail, marine and air sectors.

The U.S. border restrictions have been in place since March 2020. But Canadians, even the unvaccinated, have been permitted to fly to the U.S. since the start of the pandemic.

Higgins told the Buffalo News on Tuesday that Jeff Zients, the White House’s Covid response coordinator, informed him that the reopening will begin in early November.

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