The US-Canada border is about to reopen, but not for everyone.

On July 19, 2021, the Canadian government announced that the land border between the U.S. and Canada would be open to vaccinated American citizens. No other factor will be taken into account – negative tests, previous infection and recovery, or even quarantine, which was previously an option for essential travelers. As of August 9, 2021, the Canadian border will absolutely require proof of full vaccination for people wishing to enter the country.

And don’t try to dodge it, either. “A person who submits false information on vaccination status could be liable to a fine of up to $750,000 or six months imprisonment or both, under the Quarantine Act,” according to Canada’s public health agency.

Canada feels able to do this because in the past few weeks, the country has surged forward in vaccinations. Now with 70 percent of its population protected by at least one shot, Canada is one of the most well-vaccinated countries in the world. The U.S. lags at 56 percent, and Canada continues to widen the gap. Adjusting for our relative populations, they are vaccinating six times as many people per day as the U.S.

Immediately following Canada’s announcement, U.S. health authorities announced that we would not be opening up the US-Canada border in the other direction, not yet. Canadians who want to travel south for non-essential reasons are still unable to do so, with a very tentative date of August 21, 2021, for any new news as to whether that will change.

Realistically, vaccination rates in the U.S. are not going to catch up to Canada’s. Many states have stalled in their roll-out as resistance rises, and Republican legislators in 40 states have introduced bills to ban any manner of vaccination requirements. Canada, which is watching the pandemic dwindle in its population while we watch it rise is being generous in allowing Americans in at all. They will leave us behind in economic recovery, too.

Photo: the Children of a Common Mother Peace Arch on the border between the U.S. and Canada. Credit: Shutterstock