Maine pols: Time to open border for vaccinated Canadians

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (AP) — Maine's governor and congressional delegation believe it's time to open the international border to vaccinated Canadians.

Maine is home to several border communities that have been disrupted by the closed border during the coronavirus pandemic. The Canadian government has said vaccinated Americans can cross the border starting Aug. 9.

The United States government, whoever, on Wednesday extended the closure of the land borders with Canada and Mexico to non-essential travelers until at least Aug. 21.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins, independent Sen. Angus King and Democratic Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday that said the border closure “has a negative impact on our local economies and families, which is why we urge you to develop an immediate plan to allow vaccinated Canadians to resume travel to United States.”

Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, also said Wednesday that the time has arrived. Many traditional Maine industries, such as blueberry farming and lobster fishing, are economically tied to Canada and the closure has caused economic difficulty in the state.

“The state of Maine is inextricably bound to our Canadian neighbors. Our ties stretch across our economy, our culture, and our families,” Mills said. “The decision to prolong the border closure on our end only diminishes these ties, hurts local economies, and separates families, particularly in northern and eastern Maine, whose relatives in Canada will be unable to travel here to see their loved ones.”