Open the gates: US restarts land travel from Canada, Mexico

Covid Masks

By The Associated Press

SAN DIEGO – Beleaguered business owners and families separated by a nonessential travel ban are celebrating after the Biden administration says it will reopen U.S. land borders next month.

Travel across land borders from Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to workers whose jobs are deemed essential. New rules will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S. regardless of the reason starting in early November.

Unlike air travel, for which proof of a negative COVID-19 test is required before boarding a flight to enter the U.S., no testing will be required to enter the U.S. by land or sea, provided the travelers meet the vaccination requirement.

The 19-month coronavirus restrictions had economic, social and cultural impact, preventing shopping and cross-border family gatherings when relatives live on different sides of the border.

In Del Rio, Texas, Mexican visitors account for about 65% of retail sales, said Blanca Larson, executive director of the chamber of commerce and visitors bureau in the city of 35,000 people. “Along the border, we’re like more of one community than two different communities,” she said.

Fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents have been allowed into Canada since August, provided they have waited at least two weeks since getting their second vaccine dose and can show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. Mexico has not enforced coronavirus entry procedures for land travelers.

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BOSTON – More than 800 people who work for Boston have been suspended without pay for failing to comply with the city’s coronavirus vaccine mandate.

Acting Mayor Kim Janey announced in August the city’s roughly 18,000 employees would be required to either show proof of vaccination or submit to regular testing.

Janey says the suspended employees who didn’t meet Tuesday’s initial deadline came from five “public facing” agencies, including the public schools department, libraries, the center for youth and families, the disability commission and the age commission. Workers who continue to ignore the mandate face termination, she said. The school department alone has about 11,000 employees.

The city is making plans to deal with potential staffing shortfalls, which so far accounts for less than 1% of workers. Suspended employees can return to work by providing proof of a negative test.

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WASHINGTON – The Food and Drug Administration is wrestling with how to decide on booster doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

Other manufacturers want to offer boosters six months after primary vaccination. But J&J proposed a range of times, from two months to six months. In a review posted Wednesday, FDA scientists didn’t reach a firm conclusion, citing shortcomings with J&J’s data.

On Thursday and Friday, an FDA advisory panel will recommend whether to back boosters of both the J&J and Moderna vaccines. An extra dose of Pfizer’s vaccine already is available to certain Americans.

Pfizer and Moderna have provided the majority of U.S. COVID-19 vaccines. More than 170 million Americans have been fully vaccinated with those two-dose shots while less than 15 million Americans got the J&J shot.

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CHICAGO – The head of the Chicago police officers’ union has called on its members to defy the city’s requirement to report their COVID-19 vaccination status by Friday or be placed on unpaid leave.

In the video posted online Tuesday and first reported on by the Chicago Sun-Times, Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara vowed to take Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration to court if it tries to enforce the mandate, which requires city workers to report their vaccine status by the end of the work week. After Friday, unvaccinated workers who won’t submit to semiweekly coronavirus testing will be placed on unpaid leave.

Catanzara suggested if the city does enforce its requirement and many union members refuse to comply with it, “It’s safe to say that the city of Chicago will have a police force at 50% or less for this weekend coming up.”

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10/13/2021 2:27:31 PM (GMT -5:00)

Categories: COVID-19, Local News, Regional and US News