Vaccinated Canadians can return to visit the U.S. in November

After more than a year-and-a-half, Americans can welcome back our Canadian friends to the south after the United States announced its ban on nonessential travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic is being lifted for people who are fully vaccinated.

The U.S. announced it would reopen the land borders on both the Canadian and Mexican border starting next month. Vehicle, rail, and ferry travel between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to essential travel, such as trade, since the earliest days of the pandemic. The new rules will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S. regardless of the reason for travel starting in early November.

Karissa Baker has been waiting for a long time to spend time with her fiance. She lives in River Rouge but he Jacob Temple lives in Windsor.

"This was the announcement that we've been waiting for," Baker said. "I haven't seen his car pull up in front of my house in a year and eight months."

She said it just doesn't quite feel real, knowing that he will soon be able to do just that.

Both Mexico and Canada have pressed the U.S. for months to ease restrictions on travel that have separated families and curtailed leisure trips since the onset of the pandemic. The latest move follows last month's announcement that the U.S. will end country-based travel bans for air travel, and instead require vaccination for foreign nationals seeking to enter by plane.

By mid-January, even essential travelers seeking to enter the U.S., like truck drivers, will need to be fully vaccinated.

Lori Mello first spoke with FOX 2 a couple of months ago when Canada allowed non-essential travel from the United States for those who were fully vaccinated. She first saw her partner of two decades, John Warren, in early September when she visited him in Windsor.

"We just stood there and hugged each other for the longest time," Mello said. "It was so moving. We hadn't seen each other in so long."

It had been a year-and-a-half at that time and she's about to visit him again. But now she's learned that John will be able to come here, too.

"Oh my gosh I couldn't believe it. I heard it this morning on your channel: breaking news, breaking overnight," Mello said. "It's funny, I didn't realize how important and how special it was until we were apart."

All told, the new procedures move toward a policy based on the risk profiles of individuals, rather than less targeted country-based bans.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.