US extends border closure with Canada until at least Aug. 21: What this means for you

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Though Canada announced earlier this week that it will start allowing fully-vaccinated United States citizens into Canada on Aug. 9, the U.S. Wednesday announced the border will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least Aug. 21.

That’s according to a notice from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

"Given the outbreak and continued transmission and spread of COVID-19 within the United States and globally, the Secretary has determined that the risk of continued transmission and spread of the virus associated with COVID-19 between the United States and Canada poses an ongoing ‘specific threat to human life or national interests,’" according to a pending Federal Register notice.
The DHS notice does include U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States in its definition of “essential travel”, but does not include traveling for tourism purposes in that definition.

Canada announced it would waive its quarantine requirement for U.S. citizens who have been fully vaccinated starting on Aug. 9.

Children who have not been vaccinated, but whose parents have, will be allowed to cross the border without quarantining but will have to avoid group activities.

Now, let’s be clear, if you do travel to Canada while the non-essential ban remains in effect, you will not be stuck in the country, you will be allowed to return to the United States. This is because the ban only applies to people who are traveling to the United States for their trips, and does not apply to you coming back after leaving.

Sen. Maj. Leader Chuck Schumer sent the following statement on the decision:

"As Canada prepares to further open the border next month, the United States is failing to reciprocate, jeopardizing an already tenuous recovery for thousands of businesses, families, and communities across Upstate New York. It is critical for the United States to level the playing field and create a uniform system, following the science and data, to safely – and finally– reopen the border for those vaccinated, and I will do everything in my power to ensure that happens as swiftly as possible."