PLATTSBURGH – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has determined the categories of “essential travel” that will continue to be allowed to cross the border between the U.S. and Canada.
“We are pleased that the final policy continues to exempt commercial and shipping movements, imposing no new restrictions or conditions,” North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said in a statement.
“On the car side, they have adopted a reasonable list of exemptions which incorporates types of essential travel we had asked be exempted.”
The restrictions officially took effect at 11:59 p.m. Friday and will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. Monday, April 20.
According to the DHS notice, the categories of essential travel include but are not limited to:
• U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the U.S.
• Individuals traveling for medical purposes.
• Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions.
• Individuals traveling to work in the United States.
• Individuals traveling for emergency response and public health purposes.
• Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (such as truck drivers).
• Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel.
• Members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children returning to the U.S.
• Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.
People traveling for tourism purposes may not cross the border.
“It is a profoundly sad day to see the effective closing of the border to most back and forth activity between the American and Canadian people,” Douglas said.
“But hopefully this action and others being taken will save lives and allow us to get past this sooner.
It is bound to also provide a real reminder to all of us on both sides just how valuable our connectivity is to us and how special our bi-national relationship truly is.”
In a statement to the Press-Republican, State Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) said cross-border travel with Canada is essential on many levels.
“But abiding by the travel restriction is necessary.
The greater our success containing and slowing the spread of COVID-19, the better off we will all be.”
Assemblyman D. Billy Jones (D-Plattsburgh) said he continued to maintain contact with local and federal officials, businesses and residents being effected by the border crossing limitations.
“I continue to help my constituents with issues that have arisen through this order.
I realize the toll this is taking on everyone’s lives here in the North Country, and I remain committed to mitigating the overall impact being felt by my residents. “
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