ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York State lawmakers are reacting to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments that the northern border could open to vaccinated Americans wishing to cross over for non-essential travel next month. The U.S.-Canadian border closure began about 16 months ago. 

“It’s exciting to hear. A lot of Western New Yorkers and I imagine a lot of Southern Ontario residents have been eager to hear this news,” said Western New York Assemblyman Jonathan Rivera who only wishes the news could have come sooner. A couple weeks ago he sent a letter to the Canadian Ambassador to the US calling for an end to the border closure.

Fully vaccinated Canadians can now be exempt from quarantining requirements when returning to their country. But, Americans are still waiting for the go-ahead to visit and see friends and loved ones on the other side. Trudeau says that fully vaccinated Americans may be able to enter Canada for non-essential travel beginning in mid-August. 

“On top of it, there’s the economy of Southern Ontario and the economy of Upstate New York is connected and people travel from around the world to come to Niagra Falls on both sides and haven’t been able to… enjoy themselves,” Rivera said.

Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt also says the economic toll resulting from the closure has been “devastating,” especially for localities near the border. 

In a statement he said, “It is encouraging that Prime Minister Trudeau recognizes the illogical decision to keep fully vaccinated Americans from crossing the border into Canada as the positivity rate of the Western New York region continues to remain below one percent.”

Trudeau also said people traveling from all other countries who are fully vaccinated could be welcome to visit Canada by the beginning of September.