Ease travel ban with Canada
The COVID wall that has blocked travel between the United States and Canada for 16 months should come down. As post-pandemic life resumes most of its normal activity, foreign travel should be restored as well.
America’s northern border remains closed to tourist traffic. If the travel ban remains in place through the rest of the year, it will come at an estimated cost of $175 billion and 1.1 million U.S. jobs.
Much of that impact will be borne by Michigan, which shares a long border with Canada.
Last week, 75 House members implored President Biden to reopen international travel, including loosening restrictions at the Canadian border.
The administration should make resuming non-essential travel between the U.S. and Canada a priority and then move to restore travel to other countries, most notably the United Kingdom.
Two-thirds of the citizens of the U.S. and Canada have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine. Travel could be limited initially only to vaccinated individuals or those who test negative for the virus.
The lawmakers who petitioned Biden, led by Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Holland, co-chair of the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group in Congress, also asked for the reestablishment of travel with the U.K. and an increase in processing capacity for tourism and business visas.
The president should heed their pleas. He has set up expert panels to examine restarting travel between the U.S. and Canada and the United Kingdom, but with no timetable for action.
Americans can’t get into Canada without quarantining except for essential travel, but that isn’t the case for Canadians coming here. They are much more free coming to our border.
Given the increasing vaccination rates, the science would seem to favor a reopening of international travel, at least to select countries where safety is more certain.
Biden should take the first step of allowing Canadian and British tourists into the United States, and then work with Canada and the U.K. on fully reciprocal agreements.