Biden admin extends nonessential travel restrictions between US, Canada, Mexico through Oct. 21

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The Biden administration on Monday said it has again extended restrictions on nonessential travel at land borders with Canada and Mexico, this time through Oct. 21. 

The latest extension was announced by White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients after announcing that all foreign nationals traveling to the United States will, beginning in November, be required to be vaccinated. 

Despite the U.S. extension, Canada, last month began allowing fully vaccinated U.S. visitors for nonessential travel. 

House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., slammed the extension. 

"On the same day the Biden Administration announced it will start to ease foreign travel restrictions with several countries, including China and Iran, President Biden still refuses to even establish a clear plan for reopening the northern border," Stefanik said. "It’s past time for this administration to do its job, so members of the North Country can be reunited with their families, tourism can resume, and small businesses no longer have to suffer from this administration’s failure." 

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She added: "This prolonged closure has been devastating for our region, and New York deserves better."

Stefanik in June introduced the Restoring Northern Border Travel Act, which would require the Department of Homeland Security to expand the categories of permitted travel into the U.S. across the U.S.-Canada border to include individuals traveling to visit family members or property in the U.S., attend business meetings or site visits, or access U.S. airports. 

The bill would also require DHS to begin implementing and submit to Congress a plan to fully restore nonessential travel into the U.S. at the northern border. She has also called on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to bring the legislation to the Senate floor for a vote. 

According to her office, Stefanik has met with several Members of Canadian Parliament to discuss strategies to reopen the U.S.-Canada border. 

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Zients detailed the new mandate, requiring foreign nationals to be fully vaccinated before entering the U.S., which is expected to go into effect in early November and is set to apply to all international travel

The mandate also lifts the 14-day quarantine requirement for foreign vaccinated travelers but will require those individuals to test negative within three days of departure.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is determining which vaccines meet the U.S. standard for foreign travelers. 

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Zients also announced Monday that unvaccinated Americans returning to the U.S. will now be subject to "stricter testing requirements." 

Zients said those unvaccinated Americans will be required to test within one day of departure from their international location and will be required to test again when they arrive in the United States.

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Zients said the move will "protect Americans at home" and will "enhance the safety" of the international air travel system.

U.S. travel bans were first imposed in March 2020, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic by former President Trump.

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