A deal between Canada and the U.S. to close the border to all non-essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended by another 30 days, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Saturday (April 18th)
“Canada and the United States have agreed to extend by another 30 days the border measures that are currently in place,” Trudeau said at his daily press briefing from Ottawa.
The agreement with the U.S. was implemented last month and was set to expire on April 21st.
“This is an important decision and one that will keep people on both sides of the border safe,” Trudeau told reporters.
The news falls in line with comments Trudeau made on Thursday (April 16th) when he said that reopening the Canada-U.S. border would not be happening "anytime soon."
More than 2.27 million people have been confirmed to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 156,076 have died, reports a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
As of Saturday morning, Canada had nearly 32,000 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19.
The Prime Minister’s announcement comes days after Ottawa unveiled new measures to help small and medium-sized businesses during the pandemic.
Among them include allowing more businesses the opportunity to access a government-backed, interest-free loan of up to $40,000.
Now, businesses that spent between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019 will be eligible for assistance from the Canada Emergency Business Account (this was previously only available to businesses with payrolls worth between $50,000 and $1 million).
“This is money entrepreneurs and employers can use to cover operational costs and help with other immediate needs,” Trudeau said on Thursday.
The Prime Minister said 195,000 loans amounting to some $7.5 billion dollars have been approved since the program opened for applicants last week.