The U.S. Travel Association said the ongoing closure of the land borders with Canada and Mexico is costing U.S. businesses an estimated $1.5 billion a month in “travel exports,” which the association defines as spending by foreign residents while visiting the U.S.
Canada reopened its air, land and sea borders to Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on Aug. 9. However, the ban on non-essential land travel from Canada and Mexico to the United States was extended last Monday for a 19th month, until Oct. 21.
“My constituents are deeply frustrated by this, particularly given the trade and the relationships that people have across the border,” Michigan Sen. Gary Peters said last week during national security hearings with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
“We are very mindful of the economic consequences, and not only the economic consequences but the consequences on family members who haven’t seen one another for quite some time,” Mayorkas replied.
He said the progression of the delta variant of the coronavirus “is not yet where we need it to be” in the U.S., and that there are communities near the U.S.-Mexico border that are also suffering as a result of the closure.
“We are looking at the situation, not only at the ports of entry on our northern border, but also on our southern border,” Mayorkas said.
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“We have heard similar concerns with respect to border communities on the South and the impact, economic and family impact, of the restrictions. We are looking at what we can do operationally, and we are moving in a very sequential and controlled manner.”
Canada, meanwhile, remains the largest single U.S. export market, accounting for nearly 18 per cent of all American goods sent out of the country last year. The two countries trade $1.7 billion worth of goods and services each day, for a total of $614.9 billion in 2020.
What’s happening across Canada
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- N.L. reports 14 new case as 80 per cent of eligible residents now fully vaccinated.
What’s happening around the world
As of Sunday morning, more than 231.6 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s case tracking tool, which collects data from around the world. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.7 million.
In Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in mid-September that he would have to spend a “few days” in self-isolation after dozens of people in his entourage fell ill with COVID-19.
The results of his time away from official duties, after he cancelled his trip to Tajikistan for a security summit, could be seen in photos released on Sunday, showing him fishing in Siberia.
Putin has cultivated a macho image, appealing to many Russians, and has previously been pictured riding a horse bare-chested and in sun glasses, as well as carrying a hunting rifle and piloting a fighter jet.
In Asia, China has provided more than 1.25 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to other countries, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Sunday. President Xi Jinping announced recently that China will provide a total of two billion doses of vaccines for the rest of the world by the end of this year.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales recorded 961 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and nine deaths, government data showed on Sunday.
The state’s first dose vaccination rate has climbed to 85.2 per cent of its population over 16 years of age, while 59.1 per cent of the population has had their second doses.
New South Wales is expected to relax harsh lockdown restrictions that have been in place since June, when its population reaches 80 per cent double vaccinated some time in November.