The Department of Homeland Security announced on Friday it would extend the long-standing closure of its land borders with both Canada and Mexico, a move the department said was needed to slow spread of the delta variant, which comes in contrast to Canada’s decision to reopen the country to American tourists earlier this month.
The ban on non-essential land travel from Canada and Mexico has been extended through September 21, and will include both road and ferry crossings.
The existing ban had been set to expire on Saturday, and this represents yet another 30-day extension in land border closures that have now been in place since March of 2020.
Canada had similar restrictions in place, but started allowing U.S. tourists to visit the country again beginning on Aug. 9, with tourists required to be fully vaccinated, provide a recent negative Covid-19 test and fill out an application detailing their visit.
U.S. citizens, including those living in Canada and Mexico, and permanent residents are not included as part of the travel ban.
“To minimize the spread of #COVID19, including the Delta variant, the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel at our land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico through September 21, while continuing to ensure the flow of essential trade and travel,” the Department of Homeland Security said on Twitter.
Numerous countries had strict border restrictions in place throughout 2020 in an effort to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, but many—including European Union nations popular with U.S. tourists like Germany and France—started allowing visitors to return over the past few months. Widespread vaccinations proved to be the catalyst for the change in policy, with some countries requiring proof of vaccination against Covid-19 as a caveat for entering. The delta variant of coronavirus is taking a much harder toll on the U.S. than other western countries, although the variant is now dominant across Europe also. Cases in the U.S. have been skyrocketing since early July, and health officials are predicting the U.S. could soon be regularly adding more than 200,000 Covid cases a day, which would be nearing pandemic highs reported in January.
The U.S. also has restrictions in place barring most travelers who have been to the U.K. or one of Europe’s 26 Schengen countries without border controls in the past 14 days, according to Reuters. Similar rules are in place for those traveling from China, India or Brazil.