It's official: US-Canada border will be closed through July 21

Americans who are returning to the U.S. and Canadians who are returning to Canada are exempted.

Canada-U.S. border.jpg
All U.S.-Canada border crossings, like this one in International Falls, Minnesota, will remain closed to nonessential travel until at least July 21. (File / News Tribune)

The governments of Canada and the U.S. made it official Tuesday that their 5,525-mile border will remain closed to all nonessential travel until at least July 21 as efforts continue to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The unprecedented border closure, in effect since March 21, prevents all personal travel except for people who work across the border. Commerce, such as trucks and trains, continues to move across the border.

Until Tuesday’s announcement, the border had been scheduled to reopen June 21.

The CBC reported Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as saying Tuesday that the extension "is a decision that will protect people on both sides of the border as we continue to fight COVID-19."

"Based on the success of the existing restrictions and the emergence of additional global COVID-19 hotspots, the Department will continue to limit non-essential travel at our land ports of entry with Canada and Mexico," Chad Wolf, acting U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, said in a statement. "This extension protects Americans while keeping essential trade and travel flowing as we reopen the American economy."


The move essentially wipes out most of a season of fishing trips for many anglers, and most of the tourism season for resorts and lodges north of the border.

“We are beyond devastated by this announcement,’’ the owners of Mylie’s Place Resort on Lake of the Woods said on their Facebook page Tuesday. “May, June and July represent the lion's share of the resort season in northwestern Ontario.”

The move also prevents U.S. citizens from accessing their own property in Canada, including cabin and resort owners, and prevents Canadians from coming into the U.S. for shopping or other visits.

Americans who are returning to the U.S. and Canadians who are returning to Canada are exempted from the border closure. Immediate family members of Canadians are also allowed entry into Canada, but must quarantine for 14 days.

Canada has had only 99,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and just 8,000 deaths compared to 2.1 million cases and more than 116,000 deaths in the U.S. Globally, there have been 8 million cases and nearly 440,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

John Myers reports on the outdoors, natural resources and the environment for the Duluth News Tribune. You can reach him at
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