The Bulletin Board

State officials urge administration to open Canadian border

By: - July 22, 2021 4:09 pm
A border patrol agent talks to a driver sitting in a gray pickup truck

Canadians make up nearly 80 percent of international visitors to New Hampshire. (Getty Images)

New Hampshire officials are calling on the Biden administration to change course on the decision, announced Wednesday, to extend the closure of the Canadian border another month.

Canada has announced that its border will be opening to vaccinated Americans as of Aug. 9. But in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the closure would be in effect through Aug. 21.

New Hampshire officials say that’s too long and that the U.S. should follow Canada’s lead when it comes to re-opening.

Gov. Chris Sununu called the decision absurd.

“It harms our small businesses and families, and does not follow the science,” he said in a written statement released Wednesday afternoon. “Canada has announced they will open their borders to fully vaccinated Americans, and it’s time the United States follows suit.”

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation agreed. Both U.S. Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas sent a letter to President Biden urging him to reopen the border. They say this measure will provide a needed boost to the state’s economy and bring in tourists.

“Since the land border between the United States and Canada was closed on March 21, 2020, families have been divided, tourists unable to explore both nations, and business has been encumbered,” wrote Kuster and Pappas in their letter. 

They said lifting the restriction would allow families to reunite, encourage tourism along the border, and decrease the burden for businesses that operate across the border.

The representatives also pointed to the $19 billion Canadian tourists spend in the United States on average – about $500 million of which is spent in northern New England.  

Sen. Maggie Hassan also urged the president to reopen the border to vaccinated Canadians in a tweet on Wednesday. “This is important for Granite State families and our economy,” she said in the tweet.

About two-thirds of the countries in the world have reopened their borders to travelers from the United States. There are varying restrictions in place, including quarantine measures and vaccine requirements. The U.S. southern border with Mexico also remains closed.

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Amanda Gokee
Amanda Gokee

Amanda Gokee is the New Hampshire Bulletin’s energy and environment reporter. She previously reported on these issues at VTDigger. Amanda grew up in Vermont and is a graduate of Harvard University. She received her master’s degree in liberal studies, with a concentration in creative writing, from Dartmouth College. Her work has also appeared in the LA Review of Books and the Valley News.