Will the US-Canada border reopen on May 21?

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on May 13, 2020

The closure of the US-Canada border for all non-essential travel is set to expire on May 21st, but it is uncertain whether or not that date will be pushed back. An announcement should be coming soon regarding if the border will open or remain closed.

The Globe and Mail reported that sources familiar with the border talks had told them that the border closure might be rolled over to the next month on June 21st.

During Tuesday’s press conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated that there are discussions with US officials currently underway and that an announcement is coming within a few days.

Trudeau never suggested his position on the border staying open, but seems to be wanting to keep the border closed with his emphasis on keeping Canadians safe as his highest priority when considering the opening of the border.


Trudeau said, “[Keeping Canadians safe] is the spirit in which we have engaged in constant and constructive dialogue with the Americans on shared interests, including the border. We are going to be very, very careful about reopening any international travel, including the United States before we feel that it is time.”

Trudeau, when asked what would allow Canada to open the border, Trudeau stressed that if the curve of infections can remain flat and we can handle any new spikes in COVID-19 infections, then that would allow the border to reopen.

Trudeau explained, “I think we all, right now, are focused on the flattening of the curve — so that we can restart certain sectors of the economy. That must be done gradually. It must be done with tremendous vigilance. We need to make sure that we have the mechanisms and materials in place to deal with any further spread or spikes in COVID-19.”

In Canada and the US, the COVID-19 infection curve has been flattened considerably, especially on the state to state or province to province-level, where some areas of each country have had varying levels of infection severity. 

U.S. leading infectious disease expert Doctor Anthony Fauci testified on Tuesday that he had concerns that some states may be reopening their economies too fast and that some healthcare systems may not be able to handle the second wave of COVID-19 if lockdowns are lifted all of a sudden.

This raises the question of whether or not Canada and the US can reopen specific border crosses between regions where the COVID-19 pandemic has been mild and manageable? 

Opening some borders only has not been a policy option that has been discussed yet. Still, it may make sense with Canada and the US’ currently slowly opening their economies, so slowly opening individual borders may be in line with a responsible and slow end to the lockdown.

As of Tuesday, Canada had just below 70,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 4,993 deaths. The U.S. had a caseload of 1.3-million.

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

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