Canada Keeps US Border Closed Despite Calls for Opening as Just 20 Percent of People Vaccinated

Canada will keep its border with the United States closed as nonessential travel restrictions remain in place through July 21, according to Canada's Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.

"Our number one priority as we fight COVID19 is keeping Canadians safe," he tweeted.

Our number one priority as we fight #COVID19 is keeping Canadians safe. In coordination with the U.S., we are extending restrictions on non-essential international travel and with the United States until July 21st, 2021.

— Bill Blair (@BillBlair) June 18, 2021

While there are mounting calls to open the border, less than 20 percent of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated.

According to the Associated Press, the Canadian government expects to have enough vaccines delivered for 80 percent of eligible citizens to be fully vaccinated by the end of July. Canada also anticipated that fully vaccinated Canadian citizens with negative COVID-19 tests will not have to quarantine upon their return to the country in July.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Canadian Border remains closed
The Canadian border will remain closed to U.S. travelers until at least July 21. LARS HAGBERG/AFP via Getty Images

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, has said she would like to see 75 percent of eligible Canadian residents fully vaccinated before advising that border restrictions be loosened for tourists and business travelers who aren't citizens or permanent residents.

The U.S. only started allowing export of Pfizer vaccines in early May. Canada has largely been getting vaccines from Europe until Pfizer exports from the U.S. began arriving in May.

About 70 percent of eligible Canadians have had at least one dose of vaccine and second doses are ramping up this month and next.

The government also expects in early July to eliminate the need for fully vaccinated Canadian air travelers to spend three days quarantining in an authorized hotel upon arriving in the country. Travelers will also have to be fully vaccinated 14 days or more prior to the arrival.

Currently, air travelers are required to spend three days in quarantine at a hotel at their expense on arrival and then complete their two weeks of self-isolation.

Air travelers will still be required to take a COVID-19 test before arriving as well as on arrival, and remain in isolation until the second test comes back negative.