Starting in early November, the United States will be lifting restrictions at its land borders with Canada and Mexico for travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Officials from U.S border states praised the announcement to lift the restrictions on non-essential travel, which have been in place for the past 19 months.

U.S. Senator Susan Collins of Maine said the "long-overdue announcement is fantastic news for Mainers who have deeply missed having their Canadian relatives at holiday celebrations, family functions, and other milestone events." Collins called it "a welcome development for Maine small businesses that have suffered significant revenue losses without Canadian customers, and . . . a boost to Maine’s hard-hit hospitality industry."

Earlier this month, Collins joined a group of six senators in calling on the Biden Administration to provide the medical justifications for continued U.S.-Canada land border restrictions.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says it will exempt cross-border travelers who are fully vaccinated beginning Nov. 8. Those who can't provide proof of vaccination will still be barred from entering the U.S. from Canada or Mexico at land borders.

Maine Governor Janet Mills issued the following statement in response to the Biden Administration’s decision to reopen the border in November:

“I welcome this long overdue step forward. For too long, the closed border with our Canadian neighbors has made it difficult, if not impossible, for cross-border families to see one another, and it has strained our local small businesses and our state’s tourism industry. I applaud the Administration for heeding my call and that of Maine’s Congressional Delegation by reopening the border with Canada in a safe way.”

Starting in January, the U.S. will require all travelers to show proof of vaccination before entering a land border crossing, according to DHS officials.  That includes people engaged in essential travel, such as truck drivers, and other workers, or people crossing into the U.S. for medical reasons.

Canada's COVID-19 vaccination rate is considerably higher than that of the United States. Mexico's rate is substantially lower.

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