There is a new political muscle in the United States calling for a return to more regular travel between Canada and the United States after more than a year of pandemic-related disruption.Senior US Senate member Chuck Schumer wrote a letter to members of the Biden administration making several demands regarding the border.
He asked four things of State Secretary Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
The first is a detailed plan between Canada and the United States – released ASAP – explaining the health-related rules and benchmarks that will guide the return to non-essential travel. He said it should add clarity and transparency to a process that makes people confused and frustrated.
And during the interim period, he immediately wants to see Canada and the United States allow more people to travel. Schumer wants the definition of essential travelers to be broadened to include vaccinated people who have land, educational, medical or business reasons for crossing the border.
He also wants clarity for boaters and, finally, he wants a security plan for border officers that includes access to tests, vaccines and protective equipment.
Why it’s important to Canadians and cross-border travelers
Other lawmakers in New York’s border state of Schumer have made similar calls with little sign of progress. Neither national government has made it a priority to articulate a plan to reopen the border.
But Schumer’s entry into the debate is a sign of increased pressure on national governments to at least begin to articulate their longer-term intentions.
“Having endured one of the deadliest chapters in New York’s history, residents along the border are ready to turn the page and restore familiar ties with loved ones, property and prosperity,” says Schumer’s letter.
It is now up to the federal government to do its part and help its desperate desire to rebuild and fully recover. a top priority and a full reopening plan are made public. ”
One of the reasons for Schumer’s optimism about the reopening is the progress the United States is making on residents receiving COVID-19 vaccines. Nearly 50 percent of adults in New York state are fully immunized, and indoor dining is expanding this week to near full capacity in New York.
The United States remains far ahead of Canada in its share of fully immunized residents. However, with vaccine reluctance becoming a problem in many states, the pace is slowing and Canada is steadily catching up with the rate of residents who received a first dose.