The US-Canada land border, which closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will finally lift the last remaining pandemic-related restriction next week. A vaccine requirement for Canadian travelers will be removed, allowing increased travel between Western New York and Southern Ontario. Immigration attorney Rosanna Berardi noted that although Customs and Border Protection agents have not strictly enforced the vaccine requirement, the possibility of enforcement has deterred many from traveling between the two countries.
US Rep. Brian Higgins criticized the lack of coordination and communication between the US and Canadian governments, stating that their disjointed decision-making led to confusion and frustration for citizens of both nations. Higgins believes the reopening is long overdue and hopes that the delay won’t have a lasting impact on the interconnected regions. He revealed that Western New York lost approximately 40% of its cross-border commerce over a three-year period, affecting sectors such as tourism, retail, healthcare, and professional sports organizations.
As the World Health Organization announced that COVID-19 is no longer considered a global health emergency, Higgins emphasized the importance of investment in medical research to ensure effective treatment in future health crises. In anticipation of the reopening, Berardi advised those planning to resume cross-border travel to verify that their documents, such as passports and NEXUS cards, have not expired.
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