Canada will not agree to lifting a ban on non-essential travel with the United States until the coronavirus outbreak is significantly under control around the world, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.
Trudeau’s comments were a clear indication that the border restrictions will last well into 2021. The two neighbors agreed to the ban in March and have rolled it over on a monthly basis ever since.
The ban does not affect trade. The two countries have highly integrated economies and Canada sends 75% of its goods exports to the United States every month.
“Until the virus is significantly more under control everywhere around the world, we’re not going to be releasing the restrictions at the border,” Trudeau told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. when asked about the issue.
“We are incredibly lucky that trade in essential goods, in agricultural products, in pharmaceuticals is flowing back and forth as it always has. It’s just not people traveling, which I think is the important thing,” he said.
The restrictions are opposed by the travel industry, which says they are suffering as tourist flows dry up.
But the premiers of Canada’s major provinces have repeatedly said they have no interest in reopening the border as long as cases of COVID-19 continue to escalate in the United States.
A second wave is also sweeping across Canada, where authorities are starting to reimpose restrictions on businesses and limiting the size of gatherings.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
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