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WASHINGTON – Nonessential international travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 soon will be able to cross into the United States via land or ferry, officials said.

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According to The Associated Press, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced late Tuesday that it will amend coronavirus regulations for land border crossings – which had been limited mostly to essential travelers – to allow vaccinated, nonessential travelers with appropriate documentation to enter the country beginning sometime next month.

“In alignment with the new international air travel system that will be implemented in November, we will begin allowing travelers from Mexico and Canada who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter the United States for nonessential purposes, including to visit friends and family or for tourism, via land and ferry border crossings,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in a statement late Tuesday. “Cross-border travel creates significant economic activity in our border communities and benefits our broader economy. We are pleased to be taking steps to resume regular travel in a safe and sustainable manner.”

Beginning in January, both essential and nonessential travelers from other countries will have to show proof of vaccination to cross into the U.S. by land or ferry, the DHS added.

In Mexico, about 38% of the population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, compared with about 73% of Canadians, according to The New York Times. In the U.S., about 56.5% of the population is fully vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.

As of early Wednesday, no Republicans had publicly reacted to the news.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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