Restart international travel with ‘science based steps’

Washington — Seventy-five House members on Wednesday are encouraging President Joe Biden to take “science-based, data-driven steps” to safely reopen international travel to the United States, including loosening restrictions at the Canada border.

The lawmakers highlighted the economic impact of suspended inbound international travel, noting that the travel decline in 2020 resulted in a loss of $150 billion in export income. The United States is on track to lose 1.1 million jobs and another $175 billion by year’s end, they said.

The letter, led by U.S. Reps. Bill Huizenga, R-Holland, and Brian Higgins, D-New York, urges Biden and the Canadian government to drop all travel restrictions between the two countries for travelers who are fully vaccinated or show proof of a negative PCR test for COVID-19.

The tanker Lee A. Tregurtha is seen piloting under the Blue Water Bridge on the Saint Clair River in Port Huron, October 20, 2020.

The land border with Canada has been closed to non-essential travel for 16 months due to the pandemic. The lawmakers say officials should “follow the science” with COVID vaccinations rising and infection rates down in both nations. 

Sixty-seven percent of Americans and Canadians have received at least one shot of the vaccine. Forty-eight percent of Americans are fully vaccinated, and 27% of Canadians, according to government data.

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