It should all have happened sooner, though it’s fair to say the appearance of the more infectious Delta variant had to play a role in the delay.
The U.S. land borders have been shut to nonessential travel from Canada since March 21, 2020 – even though Canada opened its border to vaccinated Americans on Aug. 9 of this year.
Rep. Brian Higgins described the efforts by Rep. Elise Stefanik and Sen. Steve Daines as "messaging bills" that stand no chance of passage because Congress has long left detailed border management issues to the presidential administration.
The ban on nonessential travel by land from Canada and Mexico had been scheduled to expire Saturday.
The unions that represent Canadian customs workers this week voted to strike as soon as Aug. 6 – three days before the Canadian border is set to open again to vaccinated Americans.
"I think we're in a good place and the trajectory is very promising," said Arnold Chacon, interim chargé d’affaires at the U.S. embassy in Ottawa.
The Department of Homeland Security filed the Federal Register notice Wednesday, calling the extension of the border closure a public health decision.
Speaking to reporters in Ottawa, Trudeau said: "We are doing things gradually but we are talking about weeks and not months anymore. We certainly hope we will have more good news about reopenings in the coming weeks.”
The Senate majority leader said he was "really angry" when he saw that Canada on Friday announced another monthlong extension of the border closure
Canada announced that its land borders with the United States will remain largely closed for a 16th straight month.
The U.S. State Department moved Canada out of its Level Four travel advisory, which warns Americans: “Do Not Travel” there.
“It is truly unacceptable at this point to have another 30-day extension with no further exceptions for those vaccinated ... and no plan,” Rep. Brian Higgins said.
"We know that before we get back to normal, cases need to be under control and over 75% of people need to be vaccinated for us to start loosening things in Canada," Trudeau said.
People who are separated from their loved ones by the closed border have been increasingly outspoken, calling on both governments to loosen restrictions.
For residents of Buffalo, it's been nearly a century – since before the Peace Bridge – that Canada felt so far away.
The closure is a tale of two countries: one that has failed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, and one that fears that visitors from south of the border could come in and spread the disease.