Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is making a push with federal officials to reopen the Canadian border, which has been closed to non-essential travel for more than a year in order to prevent international spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Schumer on Thursday in a statement laid out a four-point plan for reopening the border with the Department of Homeland Security that icludes a binational deal, clarity for the people who have been displaced by the cycle of closure extensions, support for cross-border tourism programs and boosting support for Customs and Border Protection officers.
New York shares a long border to the north and west with Canada, with billions of dollars in commerce exchanged between the country and the state. The border closed to non-essential travel in March 2020.
The state is moving forward with a broad easing of pandemic restrictions this week as well as reduced requirements for mask wearing for people who have been fully vaccinated.
“The deep, long-standing social and economic bonds that communities in the Northern Country and Canada share were abruptly severed last March to deal with the profound public health challenge that COVID presented, and since then residents and businesses up and down the Norther Border have been eagerly waiting for the day when rates would be low and vaccinations available so that restrictions could be relaxed and logically lifted,” Schumer said. “While at the beginning — and in the height — of the pandemic it was understandable for such drastic measures to be taken, we know much more about the virus than we knew in March of last year and are making strong gains against it. Since vaccination rates have risen, overall rates are steadily falling, and New York is reopening today, based on the data, it is time to take the first steps towards reopening the Northern Border to non-essential travel.”