The one-year anniversary of the quasi-shutdown of the Canada-U.S. border will come and go next week, with no end in sight to disruptions that have affected lives, businesses, and communities touching the world's so-called longest undefended frontier.
Once again, the tightening will be extended on March 21 for another month as it has every month since the pandemic crashed onto this continent last year.
Once again, the people most affected will wonder what the plan is for reopening and what sorts of public-health stats would allow regular travel to resume.
The truth is: There is no plan.
Conversations with officials in both countries in recent days revealed that, even as vaccinations ramp up, neither government has defined what it will take to reopen the border.
They say there's no secret document laying out such benchmarks — such as, for example, the number of vaccine doses required for a return to normal, or the number of coronavirus cases reported.
The official line remains that it's still too soon to talk about reopening because the virus remains a serious threat. There are still too few vaccinated people; case levels are still concerning; virus variants pose unknown perils.
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