Reopening US border could take "significant" period of time: BC health minister

May 21 2020, 3:59 pm

On Tuesday, Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the US and Canada have agreed to extend the border closure by another 30 days, and British Columbia’s minister of health says it could be a “significant amount of time” before that changes.

Speaking on the extension earlier this week, BC Health Minister Adrian Dix said he was pleased with the decision negotiated by the federal government, which oversees matters regarding international borders.

“We are very hopeful, of course, that everyone in the United States to the maximum degree stays safe … and recovers from this as quickly as possible, but the situation is much less clear there.”

Dix added he is not convinced there “is much chance” the situation in the US will change “sufficiently” in the next month to alter his decision about if the border should be reopening.

“The short answer is that we support the federal action… We think it’s the right thing to do, we think it’s going to most certainly be needed after one month for now and that it’s going to be a significant period of time.”

In a press conference on Wednesday, British Columbia Premier John Horgan recognized that the border closure has been difficult for British Columbians who have loved ones in Washington State, and there has been some talk about how to accommodate those individuals in the future.

“There are many people who do have family connections into Washington State and they do want to go on to visit their family and visit their friends,” he said.

“As the summer goes by, as we continue to see positive outcomes with respect to caseloads [and] hospitalizations, we’ll be in a better position to revisit this. But that’s where we are at today.”