The U.S. and Canadian governments have announced, as expected, that they have agreed to another thirty day extension of existing border crossing restrictions, due to expire on July 21st, but now extended until August 21st.
The following statement is issued by Garry Douglas, President and CEO of the North Country Chamber of Commerce in response to this latest action:
"There was every reason at this point to expect at least another thirty day extension of the existing border crossing restrictions as of July 21. The Canadian public is overwhelmingly opposed to any relaxation of the current restrictions in the face of the rising infection rates in so many states. Indeed, the Canadian government had already extended through the end of August its unilateral fourteen day quarantine requirement for any returning Canadian other than those allowed to cross back and force as essential.
"We remain greatly disappointed, however, at the continued failure of the two federal governments to provide some sense of the eventual pathway forward. Through 29 Members of Congress led by Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Congressman Brian Higgins and partner groups in both countries, we have continued to call, not for immediate reopening, but for some decision making framework that can guide eventual if gradual reopening steps, and we will continue to call for such. We will also continue to ask both governments to actively assess interim possibilities for some potentially modest enhancements to the definition of allowed essential border crossers. These suggestions include family members, owners of property including boats within 50 or 100 miles of the border, and additional business related travel, among examples.
"We are now approaching four months of unnatural separation between American and Canadian neighbors, risking the extremely abnormal seeming almost normal. We must move the dialogue and policy making beyond blanket extensions every thirty days."