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Northern border co-chair calls for US to do same immediately
Congressman Brian Higgins, who serves as co-chair of the Canada-U.S. interparliamentary group and the northern border caucus, released the following statement in response to an announcement by the Canadian government detailing plans to lift border restrictions for fully vaccinated Americans effective Aug. 9.
“We have missed you Canada and we are thrilled at the opportunity to return soon,” Higgins said. “Today’s announcement by the Canadian government puts policy in line with science. This will allow fully vaccinated Americans separated from their families and property in Canada for a year-and-a-half to be reunited in three weeks. This measure can’t come soon enough.
“It is extremely frustrating that the United States government has failed to reciprocate current family exemptions already allowed by the Canadian government and failed to show a lack of urgency to make any progress on this side of the border toward lifting restrictions. There are logistics to be worked out and questions to be answered certainly, but the U.S. has neglected to give reopening the northern border the serious attention it deserves, and there is no excuse. Failure to coordinate this announcement in a binational way will only lead to confusion among travelers. We will continue to push for action by the U.S. government to welcome our Canadian neighbors back.”
Higgins, whose district includes Buffalo and Niagara Falls, does not support testing requirements for asymptomatic vaccinated travelers, calling it redundant and unnecessary.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, "The last 16 months have been extremely challenging for everyone – but they've been especially difficult for those individuals who were separated from their friends, family and loved ones and for the businesses along the border that have struggled because of the pandemic.
"With vaccination rates continuing to increase every day in both the U.S. and Canada and infection rates remaining low, we are pleased that the Canadian government is finally reopening its borders to fully vaccinated individuals beginning Aug. 9. An open border with our neighbors to the north means families will be reunited once again and much-needed relief for our border communities that depend on cross-border trade and supply chains. This is a significant step in our state and nation's recovery, and we must continue our work to get even more New Yorkers fully vaccinated so we can put COVID behind us once and for all."