After a 19-month freeze due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. is set to announce that it will reopen land borders with Canada and Mexico next month for nonessential travel and demand all international visitors be fully vaccinated, according to a report.
The new rules, to be announced Wednesday, will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S. regardless of the reason for travel starting in early November, when a similar easing of restrictions is set to kick in for air travel into the country, the Associated Press reported. By mid-January, even essential travelers seeking to enter the U.S., like truck drivers, will need to be fully vaccinated.
The U.S. announced in August that it would continue to ban nonessential travel despite Canada’s move to allow Americans who are fully vaccinated to enter. Officials in Canada criticized the decision, saying that the move created confusion. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also expressed some confusion at the time, but said every country gets to make its own decision regarding its border.
Senior administration officials previewed the new policy late Tuesday on the condition of anonymity to speak ahead of the formal announcement, the AP reported. The White House did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News.
Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is expected to make the formal announcement on Wednesday.
Officials told the AP that travelers entering the U.S. by vehicle, rail and ferry will be asked about their vaccination status as part of the standard U.S. Customs and Border Protection admissions process. At officers’ discretion, travelers will have their proof of vaccination verified in a secondary screening process.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader who represents a border state with Canada, praised the move in a statement.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, members of our shared cross-border community have felt the pain and economic hardship of the land border closures. That pain is about to end,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement obtained by Reuters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report