ST. PAUL — U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and three other U.S. senators are asking Canada to end potentially burdensome COVID-19 testing requirements for vaccinated travelers entering the country.
In a letter to Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly, the senators said the testing requirements could prove costly and inconvenient for U.S. citizens regularly traveling between the countries.
Canada currently requires travelers to be fully vaccinated and present proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before crossing the border. Travelers must present the results of a molecular COVID-19 test (such as PCR) as Canada does not accept the results of rapid antigen tests.
"This expense could discourage tourism and will be prohibitively expensive for individuals who regularly travel across our northern border," said the letter, provided in a news release from the Klobuchar office. The letter is signed by Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho.
Under its new guidance, the U.S. only requires proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 to cross the border. Unvaccinated travelers may cross the land border for essential travel, though requirements will become stricter starting in January, according to guidance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The U.S. closed its land border to nonessential travel in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold. The border reopened to nonessential travel on Nov. 8. — nearly three months after Canada eased its own restrictions on Aug. 9.
"We applaud the steps Canada has taken to ease cross border travel restrictions and urge the Canadian government to now remove testing requirements for vaccinated travelers and to engage with U.S. authorities regarding any concerns," the senators said in their letter.
Canadian health officials last week said they are evaluating the testing requirement, Reuters reported.