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Essential Vs. Non-Essential Travel: How To Know The Difference

By Kelsey Marie

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Last Wednesday, it was announced that the U.S. – Canada border would be closing. President Donald Trump tweeted, “We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic. Trade will not be affected.”

According to CNN Travel, there are approximately 200,000 people crossing the U.S. – Canada border on a daily basis. 

The U.S. Department of State suspended non-essential travel on Wednesday, March 11th. Other nations around the world are also suspending travel. The European Union has closed its borders to non-essential travel and the UK has urged its citizens to not travel internationally for the next 30 days. 

All of these restrictions against non-essential travel has us wondering what is and isn’t considered non-essential travel? 

According to President Trump in a news briefing on March 18th, the definition of non-essential travel between the U.S. and Canada is: “Well I think essential is medical, we have military working together, we have industry working together, and again, it’s not affecting trade, so things like that. But just leisurely ‘let’s go to a restaurant and have dinner,’ which a lot of people do…we have ended on a temporary basis.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a statement on March 20th saying the travel restriction would last for 30 days and then would be up for review. 

However, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s ultimately up to the individual traveler to determine what is and isn’t essential travel. 

On the other hand, the UK government says, “Whether travel is essential or not is not a personal decision.”

The European Union says “Only goods, medical equipment and some people working to manage the spread of the coronavirus will be allowed to enter the EU for a period of 30 days,” according to CNN Travel

So basically, travel is only essential for health/medical reasons and is ultimately up to you to decide whether it’s essential or not. 

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Kelsey Marie

Kelsey-Marie is an NYC girl who currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @kelseydashmarie

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