Cars from Canada entering the United States at the Peace Bridge near Buffalo, N.Y. On Friday, the Biden administration said it would keep borders closed to international traffic. File Photo by Gary Wiepert/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 20 (UPI) -- The United States will keep its borders with Mexico and Canada closed to tourists and other non-essential travel for another month to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Homeland Security announced Friday.
The department posted on Twitter that it's restricting non-essential travel at land and ferry crossings with the two neighboring countries through Sept. 21, while still allowing for trade and essential travel. The U.S. government had previously extended its border closure through Aug. 21, which has been in place since March 2020.
The department said it would work with public health and medical experts, as well as international partners, to "determine how to safely and sustainably resume normal travel."
Canada has allowed fully vaccinated U.S. citizens into the country since Aug. 9 for non-essential travel. So far, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hasn't signaled he will reverse course.
He said on Friday that "the risk of welcoming in people who are fully vaccinated is minimal, but we continue to monitor it carefully," according to Politico. Trudeau, who is campaigning for re-election, also said his government has worked closely with the Biden administration on border restrictions.
U.S. citizens can still fly into Mexico and Canada, USA Today reported. However, the Canadian government will soon require all travelers on airplanes and interprovincial trains to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The continued border closures were met with disappointment by the U.S. Travel Association, which issued a statement noting that 1 million U.S. jobs and $150 billion in export income were lost last year because of border restrictions.
"Travel restrictions are no longer protecting us from the virus -- vaccines are," Tori Emerson Barnes, the association's executive vice president of public affairs and policy, said in a statement. "Every day that our land borders remain closed delays America's economic and jobs recovery, causing greater damage to the millions of people whose livelihoods depend on travel and tourism."
As of Friday morning, the United States had recorded over 3 million cases of COVID-19 over a 28-day period, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Mexico reported 465,635 over the same period and 38,197 in Canada.