Severity: Warning Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in North America maintain travel and movement restrictions through at least Sept. 21 to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Alert Begins 02 Sep 2020 09:35 PM UTC
Alert Expires 10 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC


  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): North America (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at mid- Sept.
  • Impact: Flight cancellations, movement restrictions, business 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-September 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 Sept. 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 the restricted country list within 14 days of arrival must self-quarantine for 14 days.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that incoming flights from the above-mentioned countries are limited to landing in the following 15 airports only:


  • Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS)


  • Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)


  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)


  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)


  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) in Hawaii


  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)


  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston


  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)


  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York


  • Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX)


  • Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida


  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)


  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)


  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)


  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD)


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 coverings, maintain social distancing measures when in public, avoid people at higher risk of severe illness, and consider taking a COVID-19 test. A ban on cruise ships with capacity for at least 250 passengers will remain through at least Sept. 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 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. 21. In addition, the closure of the land border with the US for nonessential travel will remain through at least Sept. 21. Officials have redirected all international passenger flights to 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, will not be 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. Authorities have also banned any person exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms from boarding interprovincial flights or trains within Canada. Regional governments are implementing various restrictions, including limiting the entrance of 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 Sept. 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.

Officials initiated a four-tiered system of internal restrictions June 1. State authorities are responsible for imposing the measures to curb the disease under the guidelines of a federal risk-level system, which goes from green, meaning the lowest risk of virus transmission, to red, the highest risk of virus transmission. Most parts of the country are at the orange level, which permits nonessential businesses to operate with capacity limits. Most states are following the national government's guidelines and maintain restrictions on nonessential businesses; however, 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.

Back to the COVID-19 Risk Intelligence & Resource Center