The Canadian government finally eased its border rules, permitting Americans who are vaccinated to enter the country starting Aug. 9. But now it is the United States that is preventing the free flow of people between our countries. That’s moving in the wrong direction.
The Department of Homeland Security announced last week its borders with Canada (and also Mexico) will remain closed to non-essential travelers until at least Aug. 21 due to the continuing risks of Covid-19.
That, despite the fact that Canada has now surpassed the U.S. vaccination rate, with more than 50% of its population fully vaccinated and 70% with at least one dose. That’s close to the 75% threshold for herd immunity, according to Canadian health authorities. That compares to 49.1% of Americans who are fully vaccinated and 56.8% with at least one dose.
Canadians are taking a bigger risk admitting U.S. residents than vice versa.
The U.S. decision risks provoking Canada into changing its mind about reopening the border to visitors. That would be bad for the tourism industries in both countries. The U.S. Travel Association estimates that each month the border is closed costs $1.5 billion, the AP reported. Canadian officials say Canada had about 22 million foreign visitors in 2019 — about 15 million of them from the United States.
Sixteen months is too long for cross-border traffic to be halted, especially now that we have effective vaccines. The U.S. should reopen our border to vaccinated Canadian travelers.
See also: Open up high school graduations, US-Canada border (Editorial Board Opinion)
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Originally Appeared On: https://www.syracuse.com/opinion/2021/07/us-should-reopen-border-to-vaccinated-canadians-editorial-board-opinion.html