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US extends non-essential travel ban to Canada and Mexico through August 21

Over recent weeks, the Biden administration has come under fire for continuing to keep restrictions in place, more than a year into the pandemic, and after Canada announced it was reopening to vaccinated Americans.

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The Biden administration is extending non-essential travel restrictions for the U.S. northern and southern borders until Aug. 21.

The U.S. has been limiting non-essential travel along both borders since the start of the pandemic and extending those restrictions on a monthly basis. The restrictions don't apply to cross-border trade, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, as well as people traveling for medical purposes or to attend school, among others.

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But over recent weeks, the administration has come under fire for continuing to keep restrictions in place, more than a year into the pandemic, and after Canada announced it was reopening to vaccinated Americans.

In notices to be posted in the Federal Register, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas notes that there have been "positive developments in recent weeks," citing the millions of vaccines doses administered in the United States and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moving Canada and Mexico to COVID-19 Level 4 (Very High) to Level 3 (High) "in recognition of conditions that, while still requiring significant safeguards, are improving."

Still, DHS found that the outbreak and continued transmission and spread of COVID-19 both in the U.S. and globally posed a risk.

The restrictions go into effect Thursday and remain in effect until Aug. 21, "unless amended or rescinded prior to that time."