The US and Canada are likely to extend border restrictions until at least the end of November as coronavirus cases spike in some states, according to well-placed Washington and Ottawa sources.
The sources also said Canadian officials were showing little enthusiasm for suggestions from US authorities about relaxing some of the measures in the near term.
The month-long ban, which does not cover trade or travel by air, was first imposed in March and has been rolled over several times. The current range of restrictions runs out on September 21.
“The thinking is that this is probably going to have to extend through at least until American Thanksgiving (November 26),” said one source, who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.
Canadian officials, especially those in provinces bordering the US, insist the restrictions must remain.
Canada on Friday reported zero Covid-19 deaths in the previous 24 hours for the first time since March 15. By contrast, the number of deaths reported on Sunday in the US rose by 807 to hit a total of 193,195.
“Canada has no interest right now in opening up the border,” said a government source in Ottawa. In Washington, a spokesman for the department of homeland security said “we believe both the US and Canada are working well together to review potential areas for future off-ramping, when public health conditions permit.”
Sources in both capitals said the US side had floated the idea of relaxing the measures to allow for more travel and make it easier for members of families living on both sides of the border to meet.
“My sense is that the American side is more interested in that than the Canadian government,” said the first source. The few travellers who are allowed into Canada have to go into quarantine for 14 days. The restrictions are particularly painful for US and Canadian towns along the border that are tightly intertwined.
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