TORONTO (AP) — Canada and the US have agreed to extend their agreement to keep border closed to nonessential travel to June 21 during the coronavirus pandemic.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday the border is a source of vulnerability, so the agreement will be extended by another 30 days. The restrictions were announced on March 18 and were extended in April.
Trudeau said Canada’s provincial leaders clearly wanted to continue the measures.
“This will keep people in both of our countries safe.” Trudeau said.
U.S. President Donald Trump also confirmed the extension, but looked forward to its eventual end, saying, “everything we want to get back to normal.”
But many Canadians fear a reopening. The U.S. has more confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 than any country in the world, though its per capita numbers are well below many other nations.
Essential cross-border workers like healthcare professionals, airline crews and truck drivers are still permitted to cross. Truck drivers are critical as they move food and medical goods in both directions. Much of Canada’s food supply comes from or via the U.S.
Americans who are returning to America and Canadians who are returning to Canada are also exempted from the border closure.
Canada sends 75% of its exports to the U.S. and about 18% of American exports go to Canada. The U.S. Canada border is world’s longest between two nations.
AP writer Darlene Superville in Washington contributed to this report.