Canadian border with USA likely to remain closed until June 21

Thursday, 21 May, 2020

The border between the United State and Canada will remain closed to non-essential travel until June 21, Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday the border is a source of vulnerability and added that the continued measure "will keep people in both of our countries safe".

"This will help us reopen and add another layer to how you go out safely", Tam said Wednesday in her daily briefing to Canadians on the COVID-19 pandemic. It was renewed for another 30 days on April 20.

"Countries that most successfully avoided severe outbreaks, like South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan, closed their borders from COVID-19 hotspots weeks before Canada did", said Kenney.

Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Abdu Sharkawy said the latest recommendation is a prudent one, but cautioned that Canadians should not ease up on other public health efforts.

During his briefing Tuesday, Trudeau said that officials in both Canada and the USA will be using the delay to mull what their options are for lifting the travel restrictions and widely reopening business.

Some provinces, including Ontario and British Columbia, have emphasized their opposition to reopening the Canada-U.S. border until health authorities say it's okay to do so.

Canada's chief public health officer is officially recommending Canadians wear non-medical face masks when maintaining a two-metre distance isn't possible.

The federal government says it's working with provinces to cover 50% of commercial rent for small businesses under financial pressure amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, the head of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said that the barrier is going up faster than before the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the federal government is trying to make it easier for businesses impacted by COVID-19 to navigate the supports available - they've launched an online tool created to guide users to the appropriate programs, based on their needs. Much of Canada's food supply comes from or via the US.

Last Friday, Premier Doug Ford pleaded with landlords to be flexible. "Who knows exactly what the post-pandemic world will look like, exactly?"

The border closures first went into effect in March and were renewed one other time - in April - as deaths and infections due to the coronavirus continued to mount.

"We are not offering companies a bailout", Trudeau said Wednesday. "We won't hesitate to roll things back if necessary".

Health officials on Wednesday said those measures must continue through the spring and summer months and urged that "staying home when sick is a must".