(WSYM) — The U.S.-Canada border has been closed to non-essential travel for well over a year but as vaccination numbers increase, lawmakers from border states are calling for a reopening plan to be put in place.
“We need to open in a safe and low risk of a manner as we possibly can,” U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland) said during a conversation with Politico Tuesday.
Huizenga, who co-chairs the US-Canada Interparliamentary Group, says border reopening is a priority, and leaders in Canada and the Biden administration should come together to draft a plan to allow travel again.
“If we can somehow encourage our mutual governments to set common goals and common mileposts or kilometer posts on this…so we know what that progress looks like,” Huizenga says.
The congressman says restrictions have had a huge impact on local economies and many families, including his own. Huizenga’s wife Natalie is Canadian and has not seen her parents in well over a year.
“It’s been a challenge as you can imagine,” he said.
Right now, nearly 45% of Americans are fully vaccinated, but Canadians are lagging at just about 12%. That stat is what Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says will determine the plan moving forward.
“We need people to get the full two doses of their vaccines, and that’s why easing of restrictions will be focused on Canadians who are fully vaccinated,” Trudeau said at a recent press conference
Meanwhile, the criticism still remains that a plan should at least be in place so people know what metrics are being looked at. Canada is eyeing a loosening of some restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers by next month.
READ MORE: Border to Canada could reopen soon