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Trudeau refuses to alleviate border restrictions: “Eventually, but”

The Prime Minister has eschewed suggestions that Canada reopen its border with the United States in preparation for the summer.

"We're all eager to be able to travel again," Trudeau said. However, he argued that this would not be possible until COVID-19 ceases to pose a serious risk to public health.

"I think we're all going to wait patiently until such time as the health situation allows us to loosen border restrictions internationally. That'll be eventually, but not for today."

Trudeau has recently spoken with President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, leading to hope that some degree of travel might resume.

South of the border, President Biden utilized a prime-time address to affirm the possibility of small gatherings by July 4th in the U.S.

Biden said he expects to have enough vaccine for every U.S. adult by the end of May. He has ordered states to make all adults eligible for vaccination before May 1.

In Canada, given that vaccine distribution has been far less successful, officials are not in a hurry to withdraw travel restrictions However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t pressure within the U.S. to get international traffic moving.

New York congressman Brian Higgins has called on the President to gradually ease border restrictions. "The distance to Canada is now further than it has ever been in my lifetime," Higgins said.

"Given the economic and social costs the border closure has had on the region, we must prioritize efforts to expand essential-traveller exceptions and plan for an incremental reopening now."

A congressional delegation from Washington state, led by Democratic congresswoman Suzan DelBene, has also called for lessened border restrictions, noting the economic impact of denying Canadian tourists.

DelBene said Canadian visitors made nearly 7 million trips in 2018 into Whatcom County on the border with British Columbia. In that region, Canadians spent an estimated US$138 million at local stores and businesses.

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