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US lifts pandemic ban on nonessential travel, opens doors to visitors

Canada-US Bridge border
Posted at 3:16 AM, Nov 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-08 14:10:02-05

The U.S. is easing restrictions on travel from a long list of countries, including Mexico, Canada and most of Europe, allowing tourists to make long-delayed trips and family members to reconnect with loved ones after more than a year and a half apart because of the pandemic.

COVID-19 has upended lives in many ways, including through restrictions on travel. That has been felt acutely by those living near U.S. borders, where traveling back and forth was a way of life.

New rules go into effect Monday that allow nonessential travel across America's land borders for vaccinated visitors. Customs and Border Protection says foreign travelers coming into the U.S. must be prepared to present proof of vaccination at checkpoints.

Citizens and permanent legal residents of the U.S. are not required to present proof of vaccination.

Nonessential travel into the U.S. from Canadian and Mexican border checkpoints has been closed since March 2020. While Canada reopened nonessential travel to those seeking to enter from the U.S. earlier this year, the White House held off lifting such restrictions on foreign travelers for several months.

U.S. towns on the southern border are hoping Monday's reopening will bring a flood of visitors to the businesses that rely on them.