TORONTO – The United States and Canada have extended an agreement to keep the border closed to non-essential travel until June 21.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed the news Tuesday morning.
He calls it an important decision that will protect citizens in both countries.
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) May 19, 2020
This is the second time the Canadian and U.S. governments have extended border measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The situation is changing rapidly and we’re adjusting constantly to what is the right measures for Canadians to get that balance right between keeping people safe and restoring a semblance of normality and economic activity that we all rely on,” the prime minister explained. “It was the right thing to further extend by 30 days our closure of the Canada-U.S. border to travellers other than essential services and goods, but we will continue to watch carefully what’s happening elsewhere in the world and around us as we make decisions on next steps.”
Officials and stakeholders on both sides of the border have hailed the agreement as a successful measure in curbing the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring vital supply chains remain intact.
The U.S. is currently home to more than 1.5 million active cases of COVID-19, 42 per cent of the world’s active caseload, and a death toll that crossed the 90,000 thresholds over the weekend, growing at a rate of more than 1,000 fatalities a day.
Trudeau also announced an expansion of the Canada Emergency Business Account during his daily briefing.
“If you are the sole operator of a business, if your business relies on contractors, or if you have a family-owned business and you pay employees through dividends, you will now qualify,” he said.
WATCH: Eligibility criteria for Canada Emergency Business Account expanded
That means hair salon owners who contract out chairs to stylists and physiotherapists who rent out space to others can now get access to the funding, which is aimed at helping businesses struggling amid the pandemic.
-With files from Cormac Mac Sweeney and Hana Mae Nassar, NEWS 1130