Starting next month, the United States will allow fully-vaccinated foreign nationals to cross its land borders for non-essential purposes such as tourism or to visit friends and family.
The change would allow foreign tourists to enter the U.S. through land or ferry ports for the first time since March 2020. Government officials have not yet announced a date for the policy change but said it will take place in "early November," in tandem with the country's updated international air travel system.
"This is an important step that will further enhance the safety of international travel and the safety of Americans at home," senior administration officials said in a call with reporters. "These new vaccination requirements deploy the best tool we have in our arsenal to keep people safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19."
Vehicle, rail and ferry travel between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico has been largely restricted to essential travel, such as trade, since the earliest days of the pandemic. The new rules, to be announced Wednesday, will allow fully vaccinated foreign nationals to enter the U.S. regardless of the reason for travel starting in early November, when a similar easing of restrictions is set to kick in for air travel into the country.
By mid-January, even essential travelers seeking to enter the U.S., like truck drivers, will need to be fully vaccinated.
Also in the news:
►Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals reversed course and announced proof of vaccination is no longer required to attend the Indio-based festivals.
►Atlanta Braves outfielder Jorge Soler was placed on the COVID-19 injured list Tuesday, just two hours before Game 4 of their National League Division Series game against the Milwaukee Brewers.
►A Rhode Island man was sentenced to 70 months in prison for COVID stimulus fraud. He received close to $600,000 in stimulus money from three different banks and spent the money on trips to Las Vegas and New Hampshire, a Camaro, home renovations and online gaming.
???? Today's numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 44 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 716,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 238 million cases and 4.8 million deaths. More than 187 million Americans - 56% of the population - are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
???? What we're reading: Leaders and staff at a federal veterans' nursing home in Illinois mismanaged a coronavirus outbreak that killed 11 residents in fall 2020, well after employees had been put on notice about the danger of the pandemic posed to its elderly population, a government investigation found. Read more here.