Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Opening B.C.’s border to U.S. travel ‘is not in our best interest’: Dr. Henry

Border is currently closed to non-essential travel

British Columbia’s government is making it clear that the U.S. border should not open to non-essential travel at the moment, according to Health Minister Adrian Dix.

During a COVID-19 briefing on Monday (May 11), Dix said Premier John Horgan has “repeatedly” told Canada’s prime minister that the border to the U.S. needs to stay shut. Currently, the border is closed to non-essential travel until May 21, a deadline that has already been extended once.

“It would make no sense to have visitors travelling either from Canada to the United States and returning, or to have visitors… coming from the U.S. to Canada,” Dix said, adding that he believes the federal health minister “understands our position.”

As of Monday afternoon, Canada had recorded 69,222 confirmed case and 4,908 deaths due to the novel coronavirus. Of those, 2,353 cases and 130 deaths were in B.C.

For its part, the U.S. has more than 1.3 million cases and 80,297 deaths, according to researchers at John Hopkins University. Globally, there are about 4.2 million cases and more than 285,000 deaths.

Dr. Bonnie Henry echoed Dix, saying B.C. has “concerns” about a broad reopening of the border, although she would look at family reunification policies for cross-border families.

“Broad reopening of the border is not in our best interests in the coming weeks,” she said.

READ MORE: Canada-U.S. border restrictions extended another 30 days

READ MORE: ‘COVID-19 has not gone away’: B.C. records 23 new cases, one death over Mother’s Day weekend


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katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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