HOULTON, Maine — A recently issued executive order from President Joe Biden’s first days in office calls for new public health protocols along the borders of Canada and Mexico, as well as updated border foreign entry policies that could come in as little as two weeks.
The order, titled “Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel,” contains instructions for several federal departments, such as Health and Human Services, Transportation and Homeland Security to come up with and introduce new public health measures along land ports of entry, such as along the U.S.-Canada border.
It also calls for those plans to be submitted to the president within 14 days of the executive order, which was issued on Jan. 21.
“The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of HHS, the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of CDC, shall immediately commence diplomatic outreach to the governments of Canada and Mexico regarding public health protocols for land ports of entry,” the order said. “The plan should implement CDC guidelines, consistent with applicable law, and take into account the operational considerations relevant to the different populations who enter the United States by land.”
The order also calls for updated health protocols for visitors entering the United States, such as having to present a negative COVID-19 test upon entry if arriving via airplane. It also is requiring that such a plan be implemented within two weeks of the order.
While the new guidelines could provide further details into what exactly a border reopening plan may look like, the border between the U.S. and Canada is unlikely to open any time soon.
On Jan. 12, it was announced via Twitter by Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair that the border closure would be extended until at least Feb. 21, continuing the method of extending the closure every month since the border first shut down in March.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also said that he has no intention of reopening the border until COVID-19 cases have gone down significantly in both countries.
The Wilson Institute, an influential policy think-tank in Washington, D.C., plans to release a recommendation for transitioning into a proper reopening of the border by March, approximately one year after the border first closed.