Maine officials react to pending reopening of US/CAN border
Vehicle, rail and ferry travel between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to essential travel, such as trade, since the earliest days of the pandemic.
CARIBOU, ME (WABI) - The Biden administration says the U.S. will reopen its land borders to nonessential travel next month.
It ends a 19-month freeze due to the pandemic.
Vehicle, rail and ferry travel between the U.S. and Canada has been largely restricted to essential travel.
The rules will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals U.S. entry regardless of the reason for travel. That starts in early November, when a similar easing of restrictions kicks in for air travel.
International visitors will need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Gov. Janet Mills reacted to the decision, saying:
“I welcome this long overdue step forward. For too long, the closed border with our Canadian neighbors has made it difficult, if not impossible, for cross-border families to see one another, and it has strained our local small businesses and our state’s tourism industry. I applaud the Administration for heeding my call and that of Maine’s Congressional Delegation by reopening the border with Canada in a safe way.”
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, issued this statement following the announcement that vaccinated Canadians will soon be allowed to cross the land border between the U.S. and Canada:
“Today’s long-overdue announcement is fantastic news for Mainers who have deeply missed having their Canadian relatives at holiday celebrations, family functions, and other milestone events. As a native of Aroostook County, I know all too well how many families have ties on both sides of the border, and they were separated for far too long.
“This is also a welcome development for Maine small businesses that have suffered significant revenue losses without Canadian customers, and it will provide a boost to Maine’s hard-hit hospitality industry, which has been harmed by the absence of Canadian tourists.
“When the U.S.-Canada border closed more than a year and a half ago, it created significant disruptions in border towns, where people routinely cross to shop, visit their medical providers, attend church, and participate in local events. I repeatedly advocated for the U.S. to loosen its border restrictions, and when Canadian officials began allowing fully vaccinated Americans to enter their country in August, I urged the Administration to reciprocate with similar requirements and safeguards. Today’s decision will help to reunite these tight-knit border communities.”
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, issued this statement:
“It’s good to see the White House creating a consistency in travel policy, allowing vaccinated Canadians to drive across the northern border weeks after as we began allowing vaccinated Europeans to visit the U.S. via air.”
“Bottom line: this action by the White House will reconnect friends and families, and help stabilize local economies that rely on cross-border neighbors for business — a welcome action, especially as the holiday season approaches.”
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