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Montana Officials Criticize Canada Border Closure Extension

The Biden administration announced Monday the land border with Canada will remain restricted to all non-essential travel through Oct. 21. That’s in contrast with Canada’s side of the border, which since Aug. 9 has been open for U.S. citizens who are fully vaccinated and have tested negative for the coronavirus.

Reaction to the extended border ban was swift and universally negative from Montana’s top elected officials.

In a statement, Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte criticized the level of security at the southern border before saying “The federal government continues to lock down our northern border, hurting Montana families and our small business owners who depend on trade and travel and who have suffered from the border’s closure for more than 18 months.”

Republican Sen. Steve Daines, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale also wrote in separate statements that the border closure is harming border economies.

“Once again President Biden has ignored the well-being of Montana families and businesses. Biden’s continued refusal to open the northern border is inexplicable and is devastating Montana border communities and our economy,” Daines wrote.

“The Biden Administration needs to follow the science and reopen the border to fully vaccinated Canadians so that both of our economies can continue recovering from this crisis,” Tester wrote.

“I have visited a number of northern ports of entry and border towns, and they all say the same thing: that their economy is hurting and that cross border families can’t participate in life events like marriages and baptisms,” Rosendale wrote.

The White House on Monday announced it will ease foreign travel restrictions into the U.S. beginning in November. Foreign citizens will be allowed into the country by plane if they have proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test.

Kay Erickson has been working in broadcasting in Billings for more than 20 years. She spent well over a decade as news assignment editor at KTVQ-TV before joining the staff at YPR. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a degree in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation she worked in Great Falls where she was one of the first female sports anchor and reporter in Montana.