Canadian PM under pressure to ease COVID-19 related restrictions along U.S. border


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, under pressure to lift COVID-19 related restrictions along the U.S. border, on Tuesday said Ottawa would reveal how some measures could be relaxed for fully vaccinated people, but didn’t give a timeframe.

The two nations banned non-essential travel across the frontier in March last year and have extended the limitation every month since then.

Although the measures exclude trade, the tourism sector and airlines complain they are suffering financially.

“In the weeks to come, we will have more to say about the measures that we could relax for people who have had two doses,” Trudeau told a news conference. “Easing of restrictions will be focused on Canadians who are fully vaccinated.”

Trudeau did not give details and did not mention what would happen to Americans who had two doses, saying only that restrictions would remain until more people had received their second doses of vaccine. Canadian officials say Ottawa and Washington are in constant contact over the issue.

Canadian officials have previously said the border should stay partially closed until 75% of the population has received their first shots and 20% their second, and that could happen in mid-July, according to projections based on planned vaccine deliveries.

A source familiar with the talks said Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair had told U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas that Canada could theoretically be able to admit fully vaccinated Americans by August.

The mayors of some border cities said on Monday they expected Canada to move as early as June 21, the next deadline for a possible rollover of restrictions.

The U.S. and Canadian chambers of commerce and other business groups said in a joint statement on Tuesday that the two governments should allow fully vaccinated travelers to cross the border starting June 22.