(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) hosted a virtual meeting with the New Hampshire Congressional delegation and representatives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Canadian Consul General in Boston and numerous Granite State industry representatives on re-opening the U.S.-Canada border to vaccinated Canadians and the impact it has had on New Hampshire.
The roundtable follows an event Shaheen hosted last month with New Hampshire stakeholders and Canadian Consul General Rodger Cuzner on how the border closure has affected border communities and Granite State businesses and residents.
“I share the frustration that Granite State communities and businesses have over the decision to extend the U.S.-Canada border closure to vaccinated Canadians through the end of September. That’s why I appreciated the opportunity to hear more from the administration about their plans for reopening so we can hopefully see this addressed as quickly as possible,” said Shaheen. “Our businesses and tourism sector are feeling the economic impact, which they already can’t afford as they fight to get their feet back on the ground following the financial fallout from the pandemic. I understand the serious challenges posed by the rapid spread of the Delta variant and the urgent need to keep people safe, but we also know this is vastly due to an epidemic spurred by the unvaccinated. These are difficult decisions, but I believe there is a responsible way to get this done. I’ll continue to push the administration to make every effort to ramp up the timeline so we can resume travel to and from Canada among vaccinated individuals as swiftly as possible.”
“I urge the Department of Homeland Security and this Administration to immediately open the border to vaccinated Canadians. I don’t see the reason for extending the border closure even longer, when Canadian vaccination rates exceed our own, and while Canada is willing and able to admit U.S. visitors,” said Hassan, a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “Reopening the border to vaccinated Canadians would do a tremendous amount of good to families and businesses in New Hampshire. I was glad that Administration officials heard directly from New Hampshire business leaders about the impact of the continued closure on their families and livelihood – and how it is hurting local economies.”
“Reopening our border for travel of vaccinated Canadian visitors is a hugely important economic issue for New Hampshire our entire region,” said Rep. Pappas. “This affects all our seasonal and hospitality businesses who are eager to safely welcome back our neighbors from the north. I regret that this closure has been extended another month, and I hope the Administration will consider a path forward that can protect public health while also supporting the jobs and livelihoods of Granite Staters.“
“Opening our northern border to fully-vaccinated Canadians will help to spur job creation and boost our local economy in the Granite State,” said Rep. Kuster. “In June, I called on the Department of Homeland Security to ease travel restrictions and re-open the border to Canadians who are fully vaccinated. Canadian tourists spend $500 million a year on average across northern New England – safely re-opening the border will bolster our hard-hit New Hampshire tourism and hospitality industry. I was pleased to sit down with the administration to discuss the safe re-opening of the U.S.-Canada border. I agree that we must prioritize public health – particularly with the dangerous Delta variant rapidly spreading – but we can take commonsense steps forward to support our Granite State economy while keeping our communities safe. I look forward to our continued work with the administration on this issue, and to resuming travel as quickly as we can.”
Participants in yesterday’s meeting included:
- David Cloe - Deputy Assistant Secretary, Western Hemisphere, Office of Strategy Policy and Plans at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- Gary Rasicot - Acting Assistant Secretary, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
- Michael Manning - Acting Director of Field Operations at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- Rodger Cuzner - Canadian Consul General, Boston
- Tina Kasim - Deputy Director, New Hampshire Division of Economic Development
- Lori Harnois - Director, New Hampshire Division of Travel & Tourism Development
- Dave Juvet - Interim President, New Hampshire Business & Industry Association
- Charyl Reardon - President, White Mountains Attractions Association
- John Nyhan - President, Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce
- David Kovar - Founder & CEO, URSA, Inc. in Manchester, New Hampshire
- Chip Desautels - Assistant Manager of Premier Coach in Warner, New Hampshire
Since March 2020, travel across the two nations’ border has been severely restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in significant disruptions to New Hampshire communities, businesses and families. In light of progress in COVID-19 vaccinations in both countries, the government of Canada announced last month that it would open its side of the border to fully vaccinated U.S. travelers on August 9th, but the U.S. government extended its ban on non-essential travel from Canada through at least September 21st. Senators Shaheen and Hassan have been vocal advocates for safely and fully reopening the U.S.-Canada border. In June, Shaheen questioned Secretary of State Tony Blinken on the status of efforts to reopen the two nations’ border. Senator Hassan also questioned Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas at a hearing last month, pressing him on re-opening the U.S.-Canadian border to vaccinated Canadian travelers.