BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The U.S.-Canada border will remain closed until August 21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CTV News is reporting.
The ban on non-essential travel, which has been in place since March 20, was set to expire on July 21.
Buffalo-based immigration lawyer Rosanna Berardi said her office fields questions on the border closure daily. The rules of exactly who can travel during the ban are not the same on either side.
“It’s like a really complex law school fact pattern that you see on an exam. Right? Like you can do this, but you can’t do that, but this is the reality we’re living in right now,” Berardi, who is a Managing Partner at Berardi Immigration Law, said.
When it comes to flying, Canadians can fly to the U.S. with no issues and no federally mandated precautionary quarantine. Meanwhile, Americans are barred from flying to Canada for non-essential travel.
Most Americans still cannot cross to go into Canada by land. The exception is for immediate family members, permanent residents, essential workers and if they’ll be in Canada for at least 15 days.
That is not the case, though, for Canadians trying to enter the U.S. at a border crossing. Only essential workers and those with “extreme or tragic circumstances” from Canada can cross.
“It would be great if both countries came out and said here’s our joint statement, here’s how it’s going to work, but unfortunately we don’t have that right now, so we’re telling clients if you’re unsure, ask us,” Berardi said.
Different quarantine rules apply, as well. The U.S. has no federal mandated precautionary quarantine for Canadians because each state is deciding its own travel rules.
Anyone who enters Canada, though, must quarantine for two weeks or face a $750,000 fine or jail time. The Canadian government documents where travelers are staying, how they will get there and even how they will get their groceries.
“I’ve had clients that have received phone calls from the Canadian officials making sure that they are indeed staying home for those 14 days," she said.
Berardi added the rules change seemingly daily and the biggest implications will be economically.
“What’s troubling to me is that there’s no end in sight and economically this could be devastating to both countries,” Berardi said.
Commercial crossings for trade and commerce will continue as usual.