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Higgins Says if Travel Exemptions Can Be Made for Hockey Teams, Similar Allowances Can Be Made for Separated Families

Jun 1, 2021
Press Release
Reports Indicate Plans Underway to Allow Crossings, Waive Quarantine Requirements for NHL Players

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) responded to published reports indicating plans are underway to accommodate NHL teams by extending exemptions for travel between the United States and Canada.

Higgins said, “If exemptions can be made to bring hockey teams together, the same can be done to bring families together.”

Congressman Higgins does not oppose coordination to allow for teams to cross the border. Higgins is a member of the Congressional Hockey Caucus, played hockey as kid and has laced up his skates in recent years for charity hockey events. 

The Congressman would simply like the two governments to work in the same urgent and deliberative manor to come to agreement on the process allowing for families to reunite after being separated for over 14 months. 

Higgins, who serves as Co-Chair of the Northern Border Caucus and the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group added, “We have evidence that it can be done, and it can be done safely. People are crossing the border. Let’s build on the progress made, the lessons learned and lay out a strategy to get this border open.”

The border between the U.S. and Canada first closed to non-essential travel in March 2020.  However, exemptions are made for military, students, cross-border trade (cargo drivers), and health reasons.

Still, over one million people continue to cross the U.S.-Canada border safely each week. The COVID positivity rate for those entering the border by land for the most recent week on record, May 16 – 22, was just 0.2% and has consistently been less than the positivity rate for travelers entering Canada by air.  

Congressman Higgins has been pushing for months for the development of a bilateral plan to safely reopen the border, encouraged action to allow Canadians to get vaccinated in the U.S. and would like to see a full reopening of the northern border by July.