The U.S. will open its land borders to nonessential travel from Canada and Mexico in November, according to a new announcement from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. But there’s one catch: Only people who are fully vaccinated against covid-19 will be allowed into the U.S.
Nonessential travel into the U.S., including tourism and visiting friends or family, was banned via land and ferry from Mexico and Canada during much of the covid-19 pandemic. But as all three countries become more and more vaccinated, the U.S. government decided it was time to end the restrictions.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas made the announcement on Tuesday and stressed that these new freedoms for international travel only apply to those who’ve been vaccinated against covid-19.
“In alignment with the new international air travel system that will be implemented in November, we will begin allowing travelers from Mexico and Canada who are fully vaccinated for covid-19 to enter the United States for non-essential purposes, including to visit friends and family or for tourism, via land and ferry border crossings,” Secretary Mayorkas said in a statement.
“Cross-border travel creates significant economic activity in our border communities and benefits our broader economy. We are pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner,” Mayorkas continued.
Curiously, essential workers traveling into the U.S. aren’t currently required to be vaccinated as a condition of entry and the Department of Homeland Security isn’t requiring vaccination for those people until January of 2022.
“This approach will provide ample time for essential travelers such as truckers, students, and healthcare workers to get vaccinated,” DHS said in a statement.
The U.S. covid-19 vaccination rate currently sits at 56.8%, while Canada’s rate is 72.2%, and Mexico’s vaccination rate is just 37.6%. And despite America’s vaccination rate being far lower than Canada’s, the neighbor to the north opened to fully vaccinated Americans back in August.
The U.S. recorded 111,707 new cases of covid-19 on Tuesday and 2,541 deaths, according to the New York Times covid tracker. Canada reported 2,323 new cases on Tuesday and 69 new deaths, while Mexico reported 7,187 new cases on Tuesday and 546 new deaths.