Truck drivers from Canada and Mexico are among the travelers who will not be allowed to cross the borders into the United States unless they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, effective Jan. 22.
The long-expected move followed that of Canada not allowing unvaccinated U.S. nationals across the border as of Jan. 15.
According to an update from the Department of Homeland Security, individuals seeking to enter the United States via land ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide related proof of vaccination. These new restrictions will apply to non-U.S. individuals who are traveling for both essential and non-essential reasons. They will not apply to U.S. residents.
Previously, the COVID-19 restrictions did not apply to essential travelers, which included truck drivers. The change was first announced in October 2021 to give travelers time to prepare.
Trucking and logistics groups on both sides of the border have said this will negatively affect supply chains already in crisis.
“Americans are struggling with higher prices and scarce goods, at the grocery store, the gas pump, and diners across the country,” said Transportation Intermediaries Association President and CEO Anne Reinke. “One way to make this drastically worse overnight is to take tens of thousands of truck drivers and forbid them from entering the country, leaving countless amounts of essential freight at the doorstep of our country.”
A week ago, Canada started enforcing a similar vaccination rule for U.S. drivers crossing the border into Canada. There is an exception for drivers who are bringing essential medical supplies into Canada, but no such exception appears to exist for drivers entering the U.S.
In addition to being vaccinated, drivers entering Canada must upload proof of vaccination status through the government of Canada’s ArriveCan mobile app. The app is also accessible by computer.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance and the American Trucking Associations estimates that as many as 32,000, or 20%, of the 160,000 Canadian and American cross-border truck drivers may be taken off the roads by the mandate.
Doug Betts, president of the global automotive division at J.D. Power, told Reuters that the restrictions will make automotive manufacturing supply chain problems worse. “I would be surprised if there are any (U.S.) cars that don’t have at least one Canadian-based part."