Those weekend getaways to Montreal and Toronto will have to wait.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week suggested the border with Canada will remain closed for the foreseeable future, at least until the United States gets the COVID-19 pandemic under control.
And with U.S. cases soaring past the 8 million mark Friday afternoon, and deaths topping 218,000, the latest surge is making the reopening of the border anytime soon unlikely. The latest figures come from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center.
“We have committed to keeping Canadians safe and we keep extending the border closures because the United States is not in a place where we would feel comfortable reopening those borders,” Trudeau said during a Canadian broadcast interview, according to reports by media outlets that include Forbes, Fox News and USA Today.
The border with Canada has been closed to nonessential travel since March, during the early part of the coronavirus outbreak.
The closure has been extended month-to-month, and it was due to expire Oct. 21, less than five days from now.
But Garry Douglas, president and CEO of the North Country Chamber of Commerce in Plattsburgh, said he expects the closure will be extended in the coming days, although, he added, there hasn’t yet been an official announcement from either country.
While commercial traffic continues across the border, passenger rail service has been disrupted, with Amtrak’s Adirondack services to Montreal now going no farther north than Albany, the Maple Leaf terminating at Niagara Falls.
For Capital Region residents, Canada isn’t the only nearby neighbor limiting travel. Vermont this week added residents of Washington and Essex counties to the list of those subject to travel restrictions for overnight stays. Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Columbia and Greene were already on the list.
Vermont also suspended Amtrak service to the state.
Fulton and Montgomery counties, and Berkshire County in Massachusetts, are the only nearby counties whose residents don’t face travel restrictions in Vermont. Others will have to fill out certificates of compliance when they check into hotels or inns for an overnight stay.
North Country officials, meanwhile, have asked for guidance on when the border with Canada might reopen, so far without success.