Businesses concerned as Canada extends ban on travel with United States, Trudeau stands firm
OTTAWA, June 18 (Reuters) – Canada is extending the ban on non-essential travel with the United States and the rest of the world until July 21, officials said on Friday, sparking frustration among businesses worried about the economic damage.
Canada’s Liberal government is under pressure from businesses and the tourism industry to relax the ban, which was first imposed in March 2020 to help contain the spread of the coronavirus and has been renewed all months since.
But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood firm, saying the border would remain largely closed until 75% of Canadians first received a two-dose coronavirus vaccine and 20% received both. injections. Canada met the first target, but only about 3% of the eligible population received both injections.
“Even a fully vaccinated person can pass COVID-19 to someone who is not vaccinated,” Trudeau told reporters.
“We all want to get back to normal, which means, yes, moving quickly, but it also means avoiding any massive new waves.”
Although the ban does not affect trade in goods, it does affect travel operators and the export of services.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce – a national group that advocates for business – lamented what it called Ottawa’s excessive caution.
“I’m disappointed… all the science would say we should move forward to reopen the border. We don’t even have a plan at this point,” said Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the group.
“Unfortunately (…) we are the world leader in terms of first shots and we are lagging behind in terms of strategy,” he said in a telephone interview.
The United States is Canada’s largest trading partner.
Ottawa will reveal on June 21 how it plans to begin lifting measures for fully immunized Canadians. Authorities have already said quarantine protocols will be removed for citizens who have received their second dose. Read more
Reporting by David Ljunggren
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