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US Reopening Land Borders —for the Fully Vaccinated

Nonessential travel from Canada, Mexico will resume, provided travelers are vaccinated
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 13, 2021 2:27 AM CUT

(Newser) – The US will reopen its land borders to nonessential travel next month, ending a 19-month freeze due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the country moves to require all international visitors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Vehicle, rail, and ferry travel between the US and Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to essential travel, such as trade, since the earliest days of the pandemic. The new rules, to be announced Wednesday, will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the US regardless of the reason for travel starting in early November, when a similar easing of restrictions is set to kick in for air travel into the country. By mid-January, even essential travelers seeking to enter the US, like truck drivers, will need to be fully vaccinated, the AP reports.

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Senior administration officials previewed the new policy late Tuesday on the condition of anonymity to speak ahead of the formal announcement. Both Mexico and Canada have pressed the US for months to ease restrictions on travel that have separated families and curtailed leisure trips since the onset of the pandemic. The latest move follows last month's announcement that the US will end country-based travel bans for air travel, and instead require vaccination for foreign nationals seeking to enter by plane. Both policies will take effect in early November, the officials said. They did not specify a particular date.

According to the officials, travelers entering the US by vehicle, rail, and ferry will be asked about their vaccination status as part of the standard US Customs and Border Protection admissions process. At officers' discretion, travelers will have their proof of vaccination verified in a secondary screening process. Unlike air travel, for which proof of a negative COVID-19 test is required before boarding a flight to enter the US, no testing will be required to enter the US by land or sea, provided the travelers meet the vaccination requirement. Also Tuesday, the US Department of Labor completed the initial draft of an emergency regulation that will require US employers of 100 workers or more to demand their employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested weekly.

(Read more COVID-19 stories.)

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