Severity: Warning Alert
Exit/Entry: Authorities in North America maintain travel and movement restrictions through at least Oct. 21 to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Alert Begins 24 Sep 2020 11:37 PM UTC
Alert Expires 24 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): North America (map)
- Time Frame: Through at least mid-October
- Impact: Business and transport disruptions
Authorities in the US, Canada, and Mexico plan to maintain travel restrictions, additional health screening measures, and internal movement and business restrictions through at least mid-October to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Authorities extended the closure of US land borders with Canada and Mexico to nonessential travel through at least Oct. 21. Officials are also maintaining a ban on entry for most nonresident foreign nationals who, in the previous 14 days, have been in Brazil, China, Iran, the UK, Ireland, or any of the 26 European countries in the Schengen Area: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Returning US citizens and permanent residents who have traveled to countries on the restricted list within 14 days of arrival are advised to limit interactions with people from other households.
Authorities advise residents to avoid nonessential travel to most countries in the world, due to COVID-19 activity. People returning from countries where the COVID-19 risk is high are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible, wear protective face masks, maintain social distancing when in public, avoid people at higher risk of severe illness, and consider taking a COVID-19 test. A ban on cruise ships capable of carrying 250 passengers or more will remain in force through at least Oct. 21.
Authorities have implemented social distancing guidelines, urging residents to avoid gatherings and remain at home as much as possible. Officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have imposed restrictions on businesses and movement; however, most states have eased restrictions, allowing some businesses, such as retail stores and restaurants, to reopen with certain limitations. Officials in at least 34 states and the District of Columbia require residents to wear protective face coverings.
Authorities in Canada extended the ban on entry for most nonresident foreign nationals until at least Sept. 30. In addition, the closure of the land border with the US for nonessential travel will remain through at least Oct. 21. All international passenger flights are restricted to landing at one of the following four airports:
- Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
- Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
- Montreal Trudeau Airport (YUL)
- Calgary International Airport (YYC)
Persons exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, including Canadian nationals, are not allowed to board international planes destined for Canada. No cruise ships with more than 500 passengers will be allowed to dock in Canadian ports until further notice. Persons exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms are also prohibited from boarding domestic flights or trains. Regional governments are implementing various restrictions, including limiting entry by residents of other provinces or ordering visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days. Most provinces have been easing business and travel restrictions.
Mexican authorities have closed the land border with the US to nonessential travel until at least Oct. 21, but have not suspended or limited entry for foreign nationals arriving in the country by plane. However, there is limited flight availability due to entry restrictions of most countries worldwide. Officials maintain increased screening measures at airports for all travelers coming from the most-affected areas. Officials have asked all Mexican residents to avoid all nonessential international travel.
Mexico uses a four-tiered color-coded system for tracking disease activity and determining restrictions to be implemented at a local level. Under this system, areas designated as "green" are at the lowest risk for virus transmission, whereas those designated as "red" are at the highest. State authorities are responsible for imposing measures to curb the disease within federal guidelines. Most parts of the country are at the orange level, which permits nonessential businesses to operate with capacity limits. While most states are following the national government's guidelines and maintain restrictions on nonessential businesses, some have established their own risk assessment scales and have eased some restrictions. The status of each of the 31 states and Mexico City could change at short notice.
Countries could expand their restrictions in the coming days, particularly if the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increases.
Background and Analysis
COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Confirm travel. Confirm entry requirements before embarking on travel to the region. Follow all official instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny, delays, and potential quarantine.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.