INTERNATIONAL FALLS, MN — Tuesday night, the Biden administration announced the United States will reopen its land borders to nonessential travel next month, ending a 19-month freeze due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
All international visitors will need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Vehicle, rail and ferry travel between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to essential travel, such as trade, since the earliest days of the pandemic.
The new rules to be announced Wednesday will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals entry to the U.S. regardless of the reason for travel.
That starts in early November when a similar easing of restrictions is set to kick in for air travel.
Minnesota’s political leaders are reacting to the border reopening.
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar represents Minnesota.
She works closely with the Canadian parliament and has advocated to safely open both land and air travel between the two countries.
She led a bipartisan group to seek clarification from the CDC on the medical justifications for the United States’ ban on travelers from entering the country by land, but not by plane.
“I thought it was a crazy situation that you could fly from Montreal to Miami or from Ottawa to the Twin Cities, but you could not drive, unless you were an essential worker, you could not drive from Thunder Bay to Duluth,” Klobuchar said.
Klobuchar said opening the border will bring more workers and commerce back to the region.
Congressman Pete Stauber represents many of Minnesota’s border towns.
On Facebook Wednesday, the Republican said he pressed the Biden administration on this for months, and it is welcome news for many families and businesses in the region.