The decision to reopen the land borders was in part made to ensure that the United States reopened to foreigners traveling by air and land at the same time, officials said. While those traveling by airplane will need to show both proof of vaccination and a negative coronavirus test to enter the United States, there will be no testing requirement for those crossing the land border.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers people fully inoculated two weeks after they receive the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s.
Those who have received vaccines listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization, such as AstraZeneca’s, would also be considered fully vaccinated — a standard one senior official said would probably be applied to those crossing the land border. Officials added that the C.D.C. was still discussing whether foreigners crossing from Canada or Mexico with two doses from different vaccines could enter.
The decision to lift the restrictions on air travel had been celebrated by business leaders overseas and in the United States. Travel spending dropped nearly in half to about $600 billion in 2020 from a year earlier, according to the U.S. Travel Association, a trade group.
And businesses in places from Buffalo to San Diego to South Texas rely on tourists or those making a short visit to shop before returning home.
“Border communities have been hamstrung because of port closures,” Representative Veronica Escobar, a Texas Democrat who represents a border district, said in an interview. “Not only did we suffer more significant health devastation in 2020, but the economic devastation has been longer for us because of those port closures.”
“This is great, and long overdue, news,” she added.
Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, said the lifting of the restrictions would benefit communities she represents like Point Roberts, a town detached from the rest of her state “almost entirely dependent on cross-border travel to sustain their economy.”
But she warned that after “months of economic calamity” inflicted largely by the border closure, more would be needed to ensure that the community could fully recover.
Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting.