U.S. will open border to Canadians in early November

The U.S. will reopen its land borders to nonessential travel next month — including entry into Alaska from Canada — ending a 20-month freeze due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new rules will apply to all border crossing points, including the highways leading to Haines and Skagway in Southeast Alaska.

“Everybody’s chomping at the bit to get to Alaska,” Yukon Territory Premier Sandy Silver told the Yukon News.

“We expect there to be a large convoy of visitors coming from the Yukon the minute that border opens,” said Skagway Mayor Andrew Cremata. “We’re excited to see them,” the mayor told Anchorage TV station KTUU.

Vehicle, rail and ferry travel between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to essential travel only, such as commerce, since the earliest days of the pandemic. The new rules, announced Oct. 13, will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S. regardless of the reason for travel starting in early November, when a similar easing of restrictions is set to kick in for air travel into the U.S.

Then by mid-January, even essential travelers seeking to enter the U.S., such as truck drivers, will need to be fully vaccinated.

Both Mexico and Canada have pressed the U.S. for months to ease restrictions on travel that have separated families and curtailed leisure trips since the onset of the pandemic.

Travelers entering the U.S. will be asked about their vaccination status as part of the standard U.S. Customs and Border Protection admissions process. At officers’ discretion, travelers will have their proof of vaccination verified in a secondary screening process.

Unlike air travel, for which proof of a negative COVID-19 test is required before boarding a flight to enter the U.S., no testing will be required to enter the U.S. by land or sea, provided the travelers meet the vaccination requirement.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. will accept travelers who have been fully vaccinated with any of the vaccines approved for use by the World Health Organization, not just those in use in the U.S. That means that the AstraZeneca vaccine, widely used in Canada, will be accepted.

Canada already allows entry of fully-vaccinated individuals with proof of vaccination against COVID-19 as well as proof of a negative test conducted within 72 hours of entry to the country.

Canadians will be required to show a negative test result to cross the border on their return home.


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