US reopens land border with Canada

BLAINE, Wash. — Fully vaccinated travelers from other countries can visit the United States again after officials lifted international travel restrictions put in place nearly 20 months ago because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s specifically significant for Canadians who can now cross the border into Washington state by car, train or ferry without having to prove that the trip is essential.

“People in my community are looking forward to getting back together with their loved ones. They have businesses that are looking forward to welcoming folks back to Canada as well,” Mayor Drew Dilkens of Windsor, Ontario, said.

The reopening is also good news for Washington border towns.

Despite the Canadian border opening to Americans on Aug. 9, Canadians could not travel to the U.S. by land methods such as car, train or ferry.

They were allowed to fly into the U.S., but by doing so, they’d bypass towns like Blaine, Ferndale and Bellingham.

Last year, Blaine lost 750,000 of sales tax dollars due to the closure. Many people in Canada cross into Washington to get gas or groceries.

Moving forward, those traveling to the U.S. by land, sea or air must be fully vaccinated by any U.S.-authorized vaccine.

Those flying into the US will also have to provide a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of travel.

Some groups are exempt from the vaccination requirements, including international travelers under age 18, tourists from countries where vaccines aren’t widely available and those with medical contraindications, according to CNBC. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services provide a full list of exemptions here.

The new rules also tighten testing requirements for unvaccinated air travelers. While vaccinated passengers must show proof of a negative test taken within three days of their flight, unvaccinated tourists must have taken their test no more than one day before departing for the U.S., CNBC reported.

Proof of a negative COVID-19 test is not required for those entering the U.S. by land or sea.