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Tentative deal reached to extend Canada-U.S. border closure until Aug. 21: government source

U.S. Customs officers stand beside a sign saying that the U.S. border is closed at the U.S./Canada border in Lansdowne, Ont., on March 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg

The 30-day bilateral agreement has been extended three times and is now set to expire July 21

Since the last extension the public health crisis in the U.S. has exploded

A tentative agreement has been reached to keep the Canada-U.S. border closed for non-essential travel until at least Aug. 21, a government source says.

The 30-day bilateral agreement to limit discretionary cross-border travel without restricting trade or essential workers has been extended three times and is now set to expire July 21.

Since the last extension, however, the public health crisis in the U.S. has exploded.

More than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases were identified over the weekend, particularly in southern states that reopened early, with Florida emerging as the new epicentre. Canada has had 108,000 confirmed cases in total.

Hospitals in major urban centres across the United States are again nearing capacity and health care workers face another critical shortage of personal protective equipment like masks and respirators.

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked whether Canada might consider extending the 30-day window.

“We’ve pledged to continue to monitor closely the situation that is constantly evolving,” he said.

“We will be discussing with our American partners what the next steps should be, and I think this is a situation that is evolving rapidly and we need to keep responding to the situation on the ground.”