After more than 18 months of travel restrictions impacting our land ports of entry, the U.S. announced that fully vaccinated travelers from Canada and Mexico will be able to enter the country by land or ferry starting November 8. In addition, starting January 2022, all inbound foreign travelers crossing into the U.S. – whether for essential or non-essential reasons – will be required to provide proof of vaccination. This includes truck drivers crossing through commercial ports of entry. Foreign-born travelers entering the U.S. by air will need to provide proof of vaccination and a recent COVID-19 test.
Following the announcement, Supervisor Vargas submitted a resolution urging the federal government to provide economic opportunities for businesses and communities impacted by restrictions. The Chamber applauds the efforts of business organizations and government officials in the region who joined us in urging the federal government to lift restrictions that directly impacted our economy and cross-border workforce. Border delays cause over $3.4 billion in lost economic output every year.
As we move forward and continue to collaborate with the federal government to reduce impacts due to border delays, the Chamber hosted a virtual meeting with CBP Executive Director of Cargo and Conveyance Security Thomas Overacker. We are following up with DHS and CBP to confirm what documentation will be deemed acceptable proof of vaccination; if children under 12, who are not eligible for vaccination, will be allowed to cross when traveling with vaccinated guardians; whether the U.S. government will accept vaccines other than Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J; and advocate for sufficient staff at ports of entry to meet increased demand.
Among vaccines that are yet to receive approval from the CDC or FDA are CanSino and Sputnik V, which were widely distributed in Mexico.