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U.S. & Canada agree to extend border closure for another month

Posted at 11:02 AM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 08:07:33-04

According to CTV News, Canada and the United States have agreed to extend the current border closure to all non-essential travel for at least another month.

It's been almost a month since the two countries negotiated their 30-day agreement, which shut down all non-essential travel. The agreement allows healthcare workers to cross, and allows crossing for trade and commerce. It was set to expire in a few days.

“In close collaboration, the US, Mexico, and Canada have each agreed to extend restrictions on non-essential travel across their shared borders for 30 additional days," DHS acting secretary Chad Wolf said. "As President Trump stated last week, border control, travel restrictions and other limitations remain critical to slowing the spread and allowing the phased opening of the country.”

The new agreement extends these restrictions for another 30 days.

"We do not feel that reopening the border anytime soon is likely. My responsibility is to ensure the protection and safety of Canadians," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

In 2019, more than four million cars used the peace bridge. Last March almost 306,000 cars crossed the same bridge. This March that number fell to around 157,000. The number of cars sharply decreasing after the order went into effect on March 21st.

"We're the most welcoming country in the world. If there was one thing we should've improved on, I'm not being political because I'm a big supporter of what the federal government has done. We should've shut down the borders a lot sooner," Premier of Ontario Doug Ford said Friday.

Trudeau said conversations with the United States are not only "aligned and productive," but they are "constant and ongoing." No official word yet has come from the U.S. on the renewal agreement, but earlier this week President Donald Trump commented on the matter.

"Our relationship with Canada is very good. Well talk about that. It will be one of the early borders to be released. Canada is doing well, we're doing well. We'll see, but at some point we'll be doing that," Trump said Wednesday during his daily White House briefing.

On Thursday, President Trump unveiled a three-stage plan to reopen parts of the U.S., but Canada insisted the decision to lift travel restrictions between the two countries would not be made unilaterally by the U.S.

"Decisions about Canada’s border are taken by Canadians, full stop. When it comes to easing border restrictions of all kinds our government will only do that when it is appropriate and when it is not a risk to the health and security of Canadians,” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Thursday.

As talks about re-open ramp up here in the U.S., some policies in Canada tighten. Take flying for example. Any passenger on a flight in or out of Canada will soon be required to wear some type of face covering like a mask. That goes into effect Monday.