Reports: U.S.-Canada border to remain closed

This file photo from 2016 shows a time when the combined traffic from the Fourth of July weekend and Canada Day made for long lines in and out of each country at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls. Multiple media outlets are reporting that the border will likely remain closed to non-essential traffic through at least Oct. 21 and perhaps beyond. 

It appears as though the border between the United States and Canada won't be reopening anytime soon. 

Multiple media outlets in both the U.S. and Canada reported on Wednesday that the current ban on non-essential cross-border traffic will remain in place until at least Oct. 21 and perhaps until Nov. 1. An existing non-essential travel order - the latest in a string dating back to March - is set to expire on Monday, however an extension appears inevitable based on multiple news reports in both the U.S. and Canada. 

U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Niagara Falls and Buffalo, who serves as co-chair of the Congressional Northern Border Caucus, blamed the Trump administration for failing to understand that America won't have a healthy economy until it has a healthy country and starts taking efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 more seriously. 

“Western New York businesses and families have been devastated by the border closure," Higgins said in a statement released by his office in response to reports about the expected extension of the border closure. 

The border first closed due to the pandemic on March 24 and previous restrictions have been extended multiple times, including through May 20, then June 22, July 21, and August 21. 

Higgins noted that Canada averages less than 800 new COVID-19 cases a day, a rate that is currently higher than in previous weeks, while the United States is currently seeing around 40,000 new cases daily. He said the United States has just 4.25% of the world’s population but Americans now represent over 21% of the world’s deaths due to COVID.

During a House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee last week, Higgins described the federal government's response to the pandemic as "slow, sloppy, and adversarial," while suggesting it contributed to Canada and 27 other countries in Europe continuing to have travel restrictions in place for Americans. 

"We miss the free flow of people across the border and the mutual benefits it brings to our neighboring countries, but due to President Trump’s irresponsible and chaotic handling of COVID-19, we respect and understand Canada’s position," Higgins said. "This is just one of the consequences of the President’s failed response to this pandemic.”

Multiple media outlets in Canada reported this week that Canadians' view of the United States has reached its lowest level in nearly 20 years, according to a new poll. 

The poll, released by the Pew Research Center on Tuesday, found a favorable view of the U.S. among Canadians to be just 35 percent of those surveyed, the lowest since Pew began conducting polls in Canada in 2002. 

Canadians who were surveyed also gave low marks to the Trump administration, with only 20 percent expressing confidence in him. Only 16 percent of those surveyed thought Trump deserved a passing grade for the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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