BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The United States Department of Homeland Security has announced land borders will reopen to nonessential travel in November.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a press release early Wednesday travelers who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 may enter the U.S. via land and ferry ports of entry provided they have proper documentation showing proof of vaccination.
According to the release, the border will reopen in two phases.
Phase one will open the border to nonessential travel from Canada and Mexico next month.
The second phase starts in January and will allow travel through land and ferry ports of entry from other foreign nationals. Regardless of whether they are traveling for essential or nonessential reasons, these travelers must show proof of full vaccination for COVID-19.
Congressman Brian Higgins issued this statement late Tuesday evening:
At long last, there is action by the United States to open the doors and welcome back our Canadian neighbors.
A robust cross-border exchange between the United States and Canada is fundamental to our binational relationship and mutually beneficial to our nations’ citizens, businesses and economies. Strong vaccination rates in Canada made the continued border shutdown absurd and unjustifiable.
For months now we’ve heard from businesses that are suffering and families distraught over the separation imposed by the continued border shutdown. The sigh of relief coming from Northern Border communities following this announcement is so loud it can practically be heard on either end of the Peace Bridge.
Border communities await further details from the administration with great expectation, and I will continue to advocate for a more fully and freely open border to both governments, sooner rather than later.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer says the border will reopen by "early November."
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, members of our shared cross-border community have felt the pain and economic hardship of the land border closures. That pain is about to end. Very soon, the link between New York and our northern neighbors will finally be re-established, reuniting families, bolstering businesses, and ending a frustrating cycle of waiting for everyone involved,” says Sen. Schumer.
Governor Kathy Hochul issued this statement:
I applaud our federal partners for reopening our borders to Canada, something I have called for since the beginning of the closure. Canada is not only our trade partner, but more importantly, Canadians are our neighbors and our friends. From Western New York to the North Country, I look forward to welcoming our Canadian neighbors back to New York as we continue to rebuild and recover from this pandemic.
The border closed in March 2020. The land border reopened to vaccinated Americans in August.
Congressman Higgins is expected to hold a press conference on the announcement Wednesday morning.