Late last week, Senator Gillibrand called on the Biden administration to allow vaccinated Canadians to travel to the U.S. for non-essential travel through all ports of entry. The land border closure has placed severe economic strains on the supply chains of New York businesses, hospitals, and medical equipment providers that rely on travel across the northern border to stay afloat and produce essential goods and services. Cross-border families, including those of service members at Fort Drum, are separated by this policy unless they can afford air travel. The closure and loss of Canadian business costs the U.S. economy $1.5 billion each month and $665-855 million annually in Erie County alone. Gillibrand, along with several of her Democratic colleagues, asked President Biden to lift travel restrictions, create a public plan to reopen land ports of entry to vaccinated Canadians, and appoint an interagency lead to spearhead coordination.
“New York and Canada have a valuable economic partnership that has been deeply affected by travel restrictions put in place to prioritize the health and safety of so many New Yorkers who live along the border. However, the circumstances have changed and it’s time to allow fully vaccinated Canadians to travel safely into the United States across the northern border,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Countless New Yorkers and medical providers depend on travel across the northern border to stay afloat. I am encouraged by President Biden’s announcement to ease travel restrictions in the EU, UK, and parts of Asia starting in November, and I encourage the administration to make reopening the Canadian land border a top priority.”
Since March of 2020, travel along the U.S.-Canadian border has been severely restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in significant disruptions to New York communities, businesses and families. In July, Gillibrand applauded Canada’s decision to reopen the border to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens, even as the U.S. government extended its ban on non-essential travel from Canada. Gillibrand has been a vocal advocate for safely reopening the U.S.-Canadian border. Since the onset of the pandemic, she has requested guidance from both the Biden and Trump administrations to understand how closures and quarantines would affect New York’s bordering communities and to ensure all necessary exemptions have been made in the interest of public health and safety.
In addition to Senator Gillibrand, this letter was signed by Senators Shaheen (D-NH), Hassan (D-NH), King (I-ME), Tester (D-MT), Stabenow (D-MI), Peters (D-MI), and Klobuchar (D-MN).
To read the full letter, please click here.