U.S. delaying border reopening is safer for Canadians, says infectious disease specialist
The American government announced Wednesday that it is extending its ban on Canadians crossing the land border until at least Aug. 22, even though two days earlier the Canadian government declared fully vaccinated American tourists were welcome to cross into our country as of Aug. 9.
Although many on the streets of Victoria told CTV News they didn’t think it seemed fair that the agreement for land borders wasn’t reciprocal, B.C.’s premier said Wednesday he didn’t think many folks were keen to head to the United States on holiday anytime soon.
“I rather doubt that people will be lining up in big numbers to be heading south, until they feel well and truly that the pandemic is behind us,” said Horgan.
Meanwhile, Brian Conway, the head of the Vancouver Infectious Disease Centre, says the idea of staggering the opening of the border is a wise one.
Conway says having Canada’s border open first will allow us to see how many cases occur here as a result. He notes that even if people are vaccinated, they can still get and pass on COVID-19, and some negative tests will likely be false amongst those Americans entering Canada.
He says it makes sense to open the borders in a phased approach, because travel to the United States — where vaccine rates are lower and cases are rising — is much more risky than having visitors here.
"Because you will be having vaccinated Canadians going into an environment where half or more of the population is not vaccinated," said Conway on Canadians heading south.
He also notes that the U.S. locations that many Canadians will want to visit on holiday, liked California, are spots that Americans from all over their country will also want to visit, many of them coming from states where vaccination rates are relatively low.
Although Canadians can still fly into the U.S., having the land borders closed is inevitably going to impact weekend road trips to Seattle, including at Mariners baseball games, said Len Saunders, an immigration lawyer based in Blaine, Wash.
“The Blue Jays are not going to have the home team support in Seattle that they're usually expecting,” he said.
On the other hand, local tourism businesses in Victoria are excited to see Americans on vacation here in less than three weeks.