The border between the two countries has been closed to non-essential travel since March 2020. As vaccination numbers increase and travel restrictions begin to lift around the word, Trudeau has been under pressure to follow suit.
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“In the weeks to come, we will have more to say about the measures that we could relax for people who have had two doses,” said Trudeau during a press conference via Reuters on Tuesday. “Easing restrictions will be focused on Canadians who are fully vaccinated.”
Currently, according to Our World Data, about 8.5% of Canada’s population has been fully vaccinated. In the US, that number is 42.8%.
Despite Trudeau’s call to have 75% of the country vaccinated before opening the borders, other members of the government are pushing for an early summer reopening date. Public Safety Minister, Bill Blair, has hinted at June 22.
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Canada’s tourism board formally called on its government to reopen the borders on Tuesday.
“Medical experts are telling us that we are winning the battle with COVID. With vaccinations rising and case numbers going down, we must now pivot to more forward-thinking policies, and talk about safely reopening the border, ending the extreme financial crush that has flattened the tourism industry and devastated the tourism economy in Canada,” said Beth Potter, President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) via a press release. “As Canada and the U.S. return to normal, we must prepare to open the border quickly and safely, and restart our tourism economy.”
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Mayor Jim Diodati, whose city welcomes around 14 million tourists annually, says he can’t wait for the restrictions to be lifted.
“We need the borders open,” Diodati said via USA TODAY. “We want to be ramping up so that certainly by the July 1, 4, long weekend, we want to have a lot of things up and running. … We lost a good deal of last year’s tourism season. We cannot afford to lose this one. It’s been devastating.”
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