The governments of Mexico and Canada are taking the first tentative steps to reopen their borders to the U.S. that have been shut down by the global coronavirus pandemic, complicating both business and personal cross-border ties.
The Reuters news agency reported Tuesday that Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said he hoped that travel restrictions between the U.S. and Mexico imposed due to COVID-19 could be gone by the end of the summer.
The statement comes a day after reports that the government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is also exploring ways to reopen the long border with the U.S. that has been limited to “essential travel” for more than a year. The discussions are said to be preliminary, and Ottawa is expected to extend the current restrictions on U.S. travel due to expire soon as it formulates a policy on opening.
Canada was credited with limiting the impacts of the global pandemic in its early stages last year, but the country has been hit by a nasty third wave of the virus, and its vaccination program faced severe early supply problems and has lagged far behind that of the United States.
Bloomberg News, which first reported the Canadian discussions over easing the travel restrictions, cited unnamed sources who said one option would be to move to drop the current mandatory testing and 14-day quarantine that U.S. and Canadian travelers now face when they cross the border.
The Canadian economy is deeply dependent on the U.S., both as an export market and for tourism.