Mon. Jul 26th, 2021

Democratic New York state Assemblyman Billy Jones on Monday called for a phased reopening of the Canadian border as most travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic remain in place. 

Jones, who represents a district along New York’s border with Canada, called the announcement that those who have been vaccinated no longer need to quarantine after crossing the border is a “step in the right direction” but not enough to aid the region’s economy. 

“I may sound like a broken record, but families continue to be separated and businesses continue to struggle due to these restrictions for the past 15 months,” Jones said in a statement. “It is great to see unilateral movement from the Canadian government toward lifting these restrictions, but it is time that our federal government follows suit and starts a phased reopening approach to allow Canadians to cross the border to see their family, and access property, boats, businesses, and airports.”

Calls for the U.S. government and Canada to ease border restrictions have been growing among Democrats and Republicans alike. Officials last week announced the restrictions would remain in place through July 21. 

“As infections rates decreased and vaccination rates increased, I have continuously called on both governments to start making progress toward reopening safely and even called on our government to help vaccinate our northern neighbors to help speed up the process,” Jones said. “The lack of action towards reopening the border is beyond frustrating for people across the North Country and I will continue to work with our federal representatives and local business leaders to start making progress toward lifting the border restrictions.”