'Certainly a little frustrating': Windsor mayor surprised U.S. extending land border restrictions
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Windsor mayor Drew Dilkens says he’s surprised and frustrated residents won’t be able to cross the land border into Detroit for non-essential reasons for at least another month.
The U.S. says it will extend its current land border restrictions until Aug. 21, days after the Canadian government announced it would permit fully vaccinated Americans travelling into the country for discretionary purposes as of Aug. 9.
“I’m really surprised that the Unites States came out with an order to extend the closure for another month with no pathway on what the future looks like,” says Dilkens.
The restrictions that allow only essential travel across the land border were set to expire Wednesday. Canadians who want to travel to the U.S. can still do so by air but must submit a negative COVID-19 test three days prior to departure or proof from a licensed health-care provider that they have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days.
“Living in a border city, it’s certainly a little frustrating that we can’t get across the border to see friends and family and loved ones,” says Dilkens.
Bruce Heyman, former U.S. ambassador to Canada says, “Canadians got comfortable with two vaccines and a COVID test to come across and the U.S. was not comfortable saying two vaccines and a COVID test.”
He adds that the variety of vaccines in one country and not the other could also have been a significant factor.
"One of those vaccines is not yet approved in the United States."
Canada’s Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said Wednesday that he had been advised by the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security of the intention to renew the border restrictions that have been in place since March, 2020.
“Part of the relationship between ourselves and our colleagues and friends in the United States is an approach with no surprises at the border,” said Blair. “Our work has always been collaborative, cooperative and very candid. We’re working very well together.”
Dilkens says he wants to see more forward movement in reopening the border for Canadians.
“They don’t have any guidance and they seem to be behind in their pathway to move forward and it will be up to them to put all of the pieces together,” says Dilkens.
U.S. travellers who plan to enter Canada as of 12:01 a.m. EDT on Aug. 9 must have completed a full vaccination course with one of the four approved vaccines in Canada – Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson – at least 14 days prior to arrival. They will be exempt from quarantine and post-arrival testing unless randomly selected.
Dilkens says it’s just a strong reminder for Windsor residents to get vaccinated. According to the vaccine tracker at CTVNews.ca, Canada has surpassed the U.S. vaccination rate and on Wednesday fully-vaccinated rates stood at 51.5 per cent of Canadians and 48.3 per cent of Americans.
“That’s where the variant is and as Dr. Fauci (director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) says - this is a pandemic for the unvaccinated at this point,” says Dilkens.
With files from CTVNews.ca's Sarah Turnbull and CTV Windsor's Bob Bellacicco.