Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the United States and Canada have jointly agreed to extend the border crossing restrictions currently in place for an additional 30 days. The initial restriction of non-essential business travel was issued on March 21st and was set to expire in just a few days.
This come on the heels of Canada’s tightening of quarantine guidelines for travelers earlier this week. In previous coverage, the Canadian Border Services Agency issued restrictive orders requiring non-essential travelers returning to Canada to declare quarantine plans upon entry and required a mandatory 14 day quarantine for anyone returning to the country. In that same order, the CBSA also required anyone crossing into, and traveling through the country to wear “non-medical” masks or be subject to fines of up to $750,000 and up to six months in jail regardless of whether they were essential or non-essential workers.
“This is an important decision and one that will keep people on both sides of the border safe,” Trudeau said of the extension during his daily COVID-19 briefing early Saturday.
Earlier this month, CBSA released statistics showing border crossings, including both commercial and non commercial traffic showed drastic decreases in travel volume. statistics compared commercial travel over a week in March to volumes during the same period in 2019. According to Matt Stuart, a spokesperson for the CBSA , there were 88,290 truck drivers who crossed between March 23 and 29, which is down from 115,239 drivers who crossed between March 25th and 31st, 2019 showing a 24% reduction in commercial travel.
Border crossings involving personal travel are also down a whopping 82% in the same period due to the restrictions put into place. Between March 23rd and 29th there were 99,096 non-commercial travelers down from 916,996 travelers between March 25th-31st in 2019. Air travel was even worse with 129,195 travelers arriving in Canada via flights in the week of March 23-29. For the week of March 25-31, 2019, the total hit 850,212.