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US, Canada and Mexico borders to stay closed for travelers

Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON – The U.S., Canada and Mexico have agreed to keep their shared borders closed to non-essential traffic until at least late August because of COVID-19.

Acting U.S. Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said Thursday in announcing the extension that restrictions on cross-border traffic that have been in place since March have helped slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Officials had said in recent days that another 30-day extension was likely before the expiration of the previous 30-day extension.

The partial closure restricts crossing to commercial traffic, people returning to their home country and other travel deemed essential. It prohibits people from traveling between the countries for tourism or shopping, which is economically important to border communities.

The extension agreed to by the three countries would keep the border closed until Aug. 21.

It comes as COVID-19 continues to surge in many parts of the U.S. and in Mexico.

The border restrictions are intended to maintain the commercial cargo traffic that is vital to the economies of all three countries.