The U.S. land border will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least Aug. 21, according to a renewal order issued by the American government Wednesday.
In a notice pre-published in the U.S. Federal Register, the government says while vaccination rates have improved, opening the land border to non-essential travel still poses too high a risk.
“Given the outbreak and continued transmission and spread of COVID-19 within the United States and globally, the Secretary has determined that the risk of continued transmission and spread of the virus associated with COVID-19 between the United States and Canada poses an ongoing specific threat to human life or national interests,” the government wrote.
The new order expires one minute before midnight on Aug. 21.
The American order comes only a few days after the Canadian government announced its land border would open to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens on Aug. 9 and to fully vaccinated travellers from other countries on Sept. 7.
Democratic congressman Brian Higgins said he was infuriated by his own government’s announcement.
“For months now, people and businesses along the border have been strung along month after month holding out hope for the border to reopen,” said Higgins, who represents a district in New York state that includes Buffalo and Niagara Falls.
“Today’s decision by the Biden administration harms economic recovery and hurts families all across America’s northern border; this is completely unnecessary.”
Higgins said keeping the U.S land border closed to non-essential travel “is illogical given the success of vaccines and counterproductive, putting the United States at a disadvantage given Canada’s decision to welcome back vaccinated Americans effective Aug. 9.”