OTTAWA, Ont./WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. and Canada have agreed to continue limiting traffic between their countries for another 30 days, extending the closure until at least June 21.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the closure would extend during a press conference outside his Ottawa home Tuesday, with U.S. President Donald Trump confirming limitations would continue along the U.S.’s northern border later that afternoon.
“This is an important decision that will keep people in both of our countries safe,” Trudeau said, later adding, in French, that the border represented a “vulnerability” for potentially allowing more cases of COVID-19 into Canada.
The border between the U.S. and Canada has been closed to nonessential traffic since March, when officials agreed to limit traffic in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, a highly contagious disease that, while mild for most, can result in life-threatening illness in some cases.
While closed to recreational and nonessential travel, essential workers and business traffic have been allowed to continue over the U.S. and Canadian border through the duration of the pandemic.
On Tuesday, Trudeau suggested restrictions at Canada’s border with the U.S. could continue past their current sunset in June.
“We’re going to keep making those decisions as time goes on,” Trudeau said. “It was the right thing to further extend by 30 days our closure of the Canada-U.S. border to travelers other than essential services and goods, but we will continue to watch carefully what goes on around the world and around us as we make decisions on our next steps.”
Trump, speaking from the White House Tuesday, appeared more eager to return to some form of normalcy when questioned about restrictions at the U.S. and Canadian border.
“As things clean up in terms of the plague, we’re both going to do the normal,” Trump said. “We want to get back everything, we want to get back to normal.”
Since March, there have been more than 1.5 million cases of COVID-19 identified in the U.S.
As of Wednesday morning, almost 92,000 Americans had died due to complications of COVID-19, according to the John Hopkins University.
More than 80,000 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in Canada, where more than 6,000 have died due to complications from the respiratory disease.