Niagara's Top Doctor Wants the Border to Remain Closed Until the Fall

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The top doctor in Ontario's Niagara Region says he wants the U.S.-Canada border to stay closed until the fall despite local businesses and politicians calling for the opposite to support the area's tourism-reliant economy.

Dr. Mustafa Hirji says the risk of reopening the border this summer is too great, especially with the more transmissible Delta variant spreading in parts of the midwestern U.S.

He says he would recommend extending the border closure for another month and reassessing the situation in the fall so both countries have extra time to vaccinate more people.

His comments come as businesses and political leaders in the city of Niagara Falls call on Ottawa to reopen the border immediately now that COVID-19 trends are improving.

The group says many hospitality businesses in the city that shares a border with New York state earn much of their revenue in the summer months and are in danger of closing.

Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati says border cities are in a dire situation and need an urgent reopening plan.

Mutual travel restrictions between Canada and the United States -- which prohibit all discretionary travel between the two countries while continuing to allow the movement of trade, essential workers and international students -- are due to expire July 21.