WASHINGTON/OTTAWA — The United States will extend to a ban on non-essential travel at land borders with Canada and Mexico for another 30 days as several states struggle to contain a coronavirus outbreak, a top U.S. official confirmed Friday.
Acting U.S. Homeland Security Department Secretary Chad Wolf confirmed the news on Twitter. Reuters reported earlier Friday the planned extension at the U.S.-Canada border.
“We continue to work with our Canadian and Mexican partners to slow the spread of #COVID19. Accordingly, we have agreed to extend the limitation of non-essential travel at our shared land ports of entry through September 21,” Wolf wrote.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair also tweeted about the border closure extension, saying the move is meant to keep people safe.
The month-long ban, which does not cover trade or travel by air, was first imposed in March and has been rolled over several times as cases spike in the U.S. The current range of restrictions expires on Aug. 21.
A U.S. official briefed on the matter said the measures could last several more months depending on the progression of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 165,000 Americans.
The premiers of several Canadian provinces say they want to keep out U.S. tourists until there is clear evidence the coronavirus outbreak south of the border is under control.
A July 17 poll by Ipsos-Reid said 85 per cent of Canadians think the land border should stay closed until at least the end of 2020.
Last month, Canada tightened its rules for foreign travelers who must transit to get to Alaska after several U.S. citizens were fined for making detours to sightsee.
The U.S. and Mexico agreed to a similar clamp down at the border. Mexico has told the U.S. government that it supports extending restrictions for an additional month, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Thursday.
Mexico has recorded over half a million official coronavirus cases and 55,000 deaths while Canada has had more success. The total number of Canadian cases is 121,234, with 9,015 deaths as of Friday morning.
With a file from HuffPost Canada
Also on HuffPost: