The United States has extended the closure of land borders it shares with Canada and Mexico to non-essential travel through Aug. 21, the Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday.
DHS extended the closures by 30 days after Canada said on Monday it would allow fully vaccinated visitors from the U.S. for non-essential travel beginning Aug. 9, ending a 16-month travel ban prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S. and Canada’s easing of travel restrictions comes as the delta variant spreads in parts of the U.S. where vaccination rates are relatively low, raising concern among U.S. health officials.
DHS said it “is in constant contact with Canadian and Mexican counterparts to identify the conditions under which restrictions may be eased safely and sustainably.”
Businesses in the U.S. and Canada have pushed to have limits lifted on non-essential travel between the two countries that were imposed in March 2020.
The U.S. has allowed Canadians to enter the country by air after first receiving a negative COVID-19 test, but Canada has not allowed travelers from the U.S. to do the same.
The Biden administration created interagency working groups last month with Canada, Mexico, Britain and the European Union to study how to eventually lift border and travel restrictions.