The U.S. eased restrictions on Monday that prevented travelers from certain countries such as Mexico, Canada, and the majority of Europe. It also allowed family members and tourists to travel to long-delayed destinations and to connect with their loved ones who had been separated by more than one year because of the pandemic.
Beginning Monday, fully vaccinated Americans will be accepted at U.S. airports as well as land borders. The COVID-19 restriction which was in effect since the Trump administration is gone. These new rules permit air travel to previously prohibited countries provided that the traveler shows proof of vaccination. Mexico and Canada require documentation of vaccination, but not a test.
Expectations for more European and international travelers by airlines are increasing. Cirium data showed that airlines increased flights to the United Kingdom from the United States by 21% in this month’s comparison with last month.
This will profoundly affect the border with Mexico and Canada. Before the Pandemic, traveling between the two countries was commonplace.
The lack of Mexican visitors has decimated the U.S. border town’s Main Street shops, restaurants, and malls. Cross-border hockey rivalries between Canada and the United States were a part of community tradition until the outbreak. Churches that had members on both sides of the border are hoping to welcome parishioners they haven’t seen during COVID-19 shutdown.
Family members who were unable to travel for other reasons than holidays or funerals have had to miss these events. They now want to be reunited.
River Robinson’s American partner wasn’t able to be in Canada for the birth of their baby boy 17 months ago because of pandemic-related border closures. River Robinson was delighted to find out that U.S. will reopen its land crossings for vaccinated travellers.
“I’m planning to take my baby down for the American Thanksgiving,” said Robinson, who lives in St. Thomas, Ontario. “If all goes smoothly at the border I’ll plan on taking him down as much as I can. Is crazy to think he has a whole other side of the family he hasn’t even met yet.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. will allow travelers who are fully vaccinated using any vaccine approved for emergency use at the World Health Organization.
For air travelers, the airlines are required to verify vaccine records and match them against ID, and if they don’t, they could face fines of up to nearly $35,000 per violation. For contact trace purposes, airlines will collect passenger information. CDC personnel will spot-check travelers to ensure compliance within the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at land borders will verify that vaccine proof is present.
These moves are coming as the U.S. sees its COVID-19 outlook dramatically improve in the last weeks after the summer delta surge which pushed many hospitals to the edge in many places.
Rob Gillies from Toronto contributed to the report.