The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been stopping some travellers from attempting to cross the Canada-US border.
Travel restrictions between the two countries have been in place since March, a move intended to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
However, in a statement to Narcity, the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) confirmed that thousands of Americans and other foreign nationals have still attempted to cross the border into Canada.
This includes people who were attempting to visit for non-essential purposes such as shopping, tourism, sightseeing and for recreational activities.
On October 19, restrictions between the two countries were extended until at least November 21.
On the same day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the COVID-19 situation in America "continues to be of concern" and made it clear that travel would not resume until it stabilizes.
How many travellers were stopped?
The CBSA told Narcity that a total of 24,556 foreign nationals were denied entry into Canada from the U.S. between March 22 and October 18, 2020.
Of these, 21,356 people were citizens of America and 3,200 were citizens of other countries who were arriving from the United States.
All of these travellers were turned away by border service officers because their reason for travel was deemed to be non-essential.
Visitors were stopped at airports, land crossings, boat ports and more.
Why were they trying to enter Canada?
The reason thousands of people were refused entry into Canada was because they failed to prove their reason for travel was essential.
While there are a couple of exceptions, the border is only open to those crossing for requisite purposes.
Per the CBSA, 6,398 U.S. citizens were trying to enter Canada for tourism purposes.
Another 2,369 Americans were stopped for trying to take recreational trips, while 1,069 attempted to cross the border for “non-essential shopping.”
Similarly, 1,110 foreign nationals trying to cross from the U.S. into Canada were stopped after they were found to be travelling for vacations or sightseeing.
What about other countries?
The majority of foreign nationals that have tried to enter the country since the pandemic began have done so via the Canada-U.S. border.
That said, they weren't the only ones attempting to enter for non-essential purposes.
554 travellers from foreign countries attempted to enter Canada between March 22 and October 18, according to the CBSA.
They were all refused entry after failing to prove to border officials that their international trips were essential.
*This article's cover image is for illustrative purposes only.