Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Canada/U.S. border closure to non-essential travel would be extended another 30 days until June 21. “This is an important decision that will protect people on both sides of the border,” he said during a 11 a.m. press conference in Ottawa on May 19. The extension was a mutual decision by both governments.
Trudeau said the desire of provincial leaders to keep the borders closed was instrumental behind the extension. The U.S. has been much harder hit by the pandemic than Canada. As of May 18, B.C. had a total of 2,444 cases, 335 active cases, 1,966 recovered cases and 143 deaths. Of the total active cases, 47 individuals are hospitalized with 12 of them in intensive care.
Washington state, on the other hands, has a total of 18,611 cases and 1,002 deaths to date. Washington doesn’t report the number of active or recovered cases.
The conditions of the border closure remain the same as before. Non-essential travel across the border is prohibited while essential travelers such as health professionals and transportation services continue unimpeded. In normal times, approximately 75 percent of border crossings are made by Canadians traveling to and from the U.S., meaning local businesses in Whatcom County and elsewhere have been hard hit by the lack of traffic
This is the second 30-day extension to the original order closing the border back in March. Sources at the local Border Task Force consider it likely that there will be at least one more extension into July, at least past the July 4 holiday if not later.