The decision to extend the closure of the Canadian border to non-essential travel continued to stir outrage among Republican and Democratic officials alike in the state's North Country, which relies heavily on summer and fall tourism dollars.
The federal government on Monday announced the border would continue to be closed amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to Oct. 21.
State and congressional lawmakers decried the move, pointing to air travel for vaccinated foreign travels being permitted.
“It makes absolutely no sense to allow people to fly to the United States when they are not permitted to cross by land. Why is air travel prioritized over land travel when so many people who live along the Canadian border who have been separated from their loved ones for over a year cannot afford the time or expense it takes to fly to the United States?" said Democratic Assemblyman Billy Jones, a lawmaker who represents a district near the border.
In Congress, Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik has introduced a bill earlier this year that would require the Department of Homeland Security to expand travel categories into the U.S., including those who are in Canada and trying to visit family members, property, or attend business meetings.
“It’s past time for this administration to do its job, so members of the North Country can be reunited with their families, tourism can resume, and small businesses no longer have to suffer from this administration’s failure," Stefanik said Monday. "This prolonged closure has been devastating for our region, and New York deserves better.”