WASHINGTON – On Thursday, New Hampshire’s Congressional Delegation met with representatives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Canadian Consul General in Boston and numerous Granite State business leaders regarding the re-opening of the U.S./Canadian border.
Due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the border was closed to “non-essential” travel on March 21, 2020, the first significant closing of the border since the War of 1812.
Canada announced that it would open its side of the border to vaccinated U.S. citizens starting on Aug. 9, but the United States stated that its ban on non-essential travel would continue until Sept. 21.
Hosted by U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Thursday’s roundtable followed an event hosted by Shaheen last month with New Hampshire stakeholders and Canadian Consul General Rodger Cuzner on how the border closure has affected border communities and Granite State businesses and residents.
Shaheen shared the frustration she has heard from Granite State businesses and residents over the Biden Adminstration’s decision on the extension of the border closure and sought additional information to safely re-open the border as soon as possible.
“Our businesses and tourism sector are feeling the economic impact, which they already can’t afford as they fight to get their feet back on the ground following the financial fallout from the pandemic,” said Shaheen. “I understand the serious challenges posed by the rapid spread of the Delta variant and the urgent need to keep people safe, but we also know this is vastly due to an epidemic spurred by the unvaccinated. These are difficult decisions, but I believe there is a responsible way to get this done. I’ll continue to push the administration to make every effort to ramp up the timeline so we can resume travel to and from Canada among vaccinated individuals as swiftly as possible.”
The other three members of New Hampshire’s Congressional Delegation shared Shaheen’s sentiments, urging a re-opening of the border for fully vaccinated Canadians, citing the border’s impact on New Hampshire’s economy.
“Reopening the border to vaccinated Canadians would do a tremendous amount of good to families and businesses in New Hampshire,” said U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH). “I was glad that Administration officials heard directly from New Hampshire business leaders about the impact of the continued closure on their families and livelihood – and how it is hurting local economies.”
“Reopening our border for travel of vaccinated Canadian visitors is a hugely important economic issue for New Hampshire our entire region,” said U.S. Representative Chris Pappas (D-NH-01) “This affects all our seasonal and hospitality businesses who are eager to safely welcome back our neighbors from the north. I regret that this closure has been extended another month, and I hope the Administration will consider a path forward that can protect public health while also supporting the jobs and livelihoods of Granite Staters.“
“I was pleased to sit down with the administration to discuss the safe re-opening of the U.S.-Canada border. I agree that we must prioritize public health – particularly with the dangerous Delta variant rapidly spreading – but we can take commonsense steps forward to support our Granite State economy while keeping our communities safe,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH-02). “I look forward to our continued work with the administration on this issue, and to resuming travel as quickly as we can.”