BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Canada could begin easing restrictions on the U.S.-Canada border on June 22, according to Jim Diodati, mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario.
The U.S.-Canada border has been closed to non-essential travel for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In May the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the closure was extended through June 21, 2021.
In an interview with 7 Eyewitness News Tuesday, Diodati said in a recent meeting of border mayors with Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, Blair suggested that if 75% of people received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 20% were fully vaccinated, border restrictions could be eased beginning June 22.
Data from Canada's COVID-19 vaccine tracker shows 62.196% of the Canadian population has received at least one dose and 8.211% of the Canadian population is fully vaccinated.
Diodati said Blair did not expand upon the restrictions that could be eased, but a suggestion was that anyone fully vaccinated would be able to cross the border with proof of vaccination.
In a report from Politico Tuesday Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said:
We’re going to have more to announce in the coming weeks on which measures we can loosen for those who have two doses. We need people to get the full two doses of their vaccines and that’s why easing of restrictions will be focused on Canadians who are fully vaccinated.
According to Diodati, Niagara Falls, Ontario sees 14 million people a year in tourism and about 25% come from the U.S. and represent 50% of the revenue and 40,000 jobs are dependent on tourism.
Diodati said the best way to achieve easing border restrictions is for the U.S. and Canada to work together on the matter and provide transparency. He is hoping for an easing of restrictions at the border for Fourth of July weekend.
Congressman Chris Jacobs (R - NY27) introduced legislation Tuesday, the Northern Border Reopening Transparency Act, that would require the Biden administration to provide transparency into efforts to reopen the border.
This weekend, I called for answers and said I would be pursuing all legislative angles to get them. Today, I am keeping with that pledge. 16 months of indefinite, arbitrary closures are unacceptable. Enough is enough, the President and his Cabinet owe Congress, separated families, business owners, and homeowners answers – this legislation is designed to get them.
Congressman Brian Higgins (D - NY26), who serves as Co-Chair of the Northern Border Caucus and the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group, released the following statement Tuesday:
It is clearly the beginning of the end of the border shutdown between the U.S. and Canada. In conversations with government leaders on both sides of the border we are learning plans are moving forward to provide for expanded crossing allowances. Action is long overdue.
Later this week President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau will travel to meet in England for the G7. And accommodations were made to allow U.S. and Canadian hockey teams to come together for the Stanley Cup finals. Science and progress in fighting the pandemic have made this possible.
If we can do it for some, we can surely find a way to do it for all. Families have been separated for over a year, homeowners have been kept from their property, and our economies have suffered. Leaders on both sides of the border must get this done.