The U.S. government on Wednesday (July 21) extended the closure of land borders with Canada and Mexico to non-essential travel such as tourism through Aug. 21 even as officials debate whether to require visitors to have received a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Reuters.
The latest 30-day extension by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) came after Canada said on Monday it would start allowing in fully vaccinated U.S. visitors on Aug. 9 for non-essential travel after the COVID-19 pandemic forced a 16-month ban that many businesses have called crippling.
“We rely on the guidance of our health and medical experts, not on the actions of other countries,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, declining to offer any timetable for when the administration might ease travel restrictions that bar much of the world from the United States.
One difficult question for President Joe Biden’s administration is whether to follow Canada’s lead and require all visitors to be vaccinated for COVID-19 before entering the United States, sources briefed on the matter told Reuters.
The White House plans a new round of high-level meetings this week to discuss the travel restrictions and the potential of mandating COVID-19 vaccines for visitors, but no decisions have been made, the sources said.
The review comes amid increasing concern among U.S. officials about the Delta variant. U.S. health officials have reported sizable increases in COVID-19 cases and deaths, with outbreaks occurring in parts of the country with low vaccination rates.