BUFFALO, N.Y. — Western New Yorkers waiting for the border with Canada to reopen will likely have to keep waiting, at least for now.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters Tuesday that three-quarters of Canadians will need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 before he even considers loosening the restrictions.
“We’re all eager to get back to normal, but we know that before we get back to normal, cases need to be under control and over 75% of people need to be vaccinated,” Trudeau said in a news conference broadcast on Canada's Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC).
“We know that there are still real concerns around transmission of the virus, but we will continue to work with our partners and hopefully get to a better place when the time is appropriate."
As of May 22, 3.9 percent of the Canadian population is fully-vaccinated against COVID-19, and 50.2 percent of the population has received at least one dose. As of the same date, 38.9 percent of the U.S. is fully-vaccinated.
The province of Ontario has been shut down for more than a month and is expected to have at least 60 percent of adults vaccinated by the middle of June, which is when it will begin the first of its three-stage reopening plan.
Buffalo's democratic Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) is pushing the White House to end orders banning non-essential travel between the two countries and reopen the border by July.
The ban has been in place since March 2020 and is set to expire on May 21, 2021, but is expected to be extended again for another 30 days. When that happens, Higgins has said he believes proof of vaccination should be required.