Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Officials in the US extend ground border closures with Mexico and Canada to all nonessential travel through at least June 22.

This alert affects United States

This alert began 20 May 2020 14:20 GMT and is scheduled to expire 20 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant business and transport disruptions, movement restrictions

US authorities have extended the ground border closures with Canada and Mexico to all nonessential travel through at least June 22, as part of the countries' efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The closures, which are also in place for pleasure boat travels, will not affect trade, movement of essential goods and workers, food, medicines, or cargo trucks. US citizens or lawful permanent residents returning to the country or individuals traveling to attend educational institutions are also exempted. The initial orders to close the ground borders were imposed March 24.

Additional travel restrictions are ongoing. US officials have suspended entry for foreign nationals who have been in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), Iran, UK, Ireland, and the Schengen Area within the last 14 days. The Schengen Area includes 26 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. US citizens and legal permanent residents who have traveled to a country on the restricted list within 14 days of arrival must self-quarantine for 14 days.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has previously announced that incoming flights from the listed countries would be permitted to land only at the following 13 airports:

  • 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)
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD)

Department of State officials have also advised US citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. Authorities urge anyone entering the country from abroad to self-quarantine and monitor their health for 14 days.

Authorities advise all residents to avoid gatherings and crowded places, maintain a distance of at least 1.8 meters (six feet) from others when in public, and wear face and nose coverings. People 65 years of age or older and those with underlying health conditions are advised to remain at home whenever possible.

Regional and local authorities have taken additional measures. Most states maintain limitations on movement and business activities; however, in most regions, officials have eased some of the restrictions, allowing businesses such as retail stores, and recreational areas like parks and beaches, to reopen with limitations. Additional measures may be imposed in upcoming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures announced by the US government correspond with similar actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks, in response to the spread of COVID-19. 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 appointments and travel plans if they had already been scheduled. Heed the recommendations of authorities and avoid any gathering of ten or more people. Reconsider any travel plan. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Exercise 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).

Back to the COVID-19 Risk Intelligence & Resource Center