By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesotans hoping to once again visit their neighbors to the north won’t have to wait much longer.

The Canadian government announced Monday that starting Aug. 9, United States citizens and permanent residents who have been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks will be able to cross the border.

“The Government of Canada recognizes that people have been anxiously awaiting a re-opening of the border to the world,” Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair said. “We have been fully engaged with our American counterparts given the deep economic and family ties between our two countries. Today’s announcement is another big step in our approach to easing border measures which is guided by facts, scientific evidence and the advice of our public health experts.”

On Sept. 7, Canada plans to open the country to any fully vaccinated travelers.

“This is great news and will help connect loved ones and alleviate the burden on so many businesses on our border that have been suffering. I have long worked with both Canadian and U.S. officials to make this happen, and it will now be easier to see family and friends, and allow businesses to get goods to market,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Monday.

Travelers will have to use the ArriveCAN app to submit their travel and vaccination information, and will not have to quarantine upon arrival as long as they meet specific criteria.

While visitors will still have to take a pre-entry COVID test, post-arrival tests will no longer be necessary for most fully vaccinated people.

Also starting Aug.9, five more Canadian airports will accept international flights.

The government cited “rising vaccination rates and declining COVID-19 cases” as reasons for loosening border measures.

Canada is still discouraging its citizens from non-essential international travel.

Rep. Michelle Fischbach, who represents the state’s 7th congressional district, issued a statement Monday:

“The light at the end of the tunnel appears to be closer. After more than 16 long, arduous months, it is long past the time for these punitive restrictions to meet their end. Not only has the prolonged border closure affected the ability of Americans to travel, it has also impeded the ability of Americans to earn a living. The closure of the northern border has been particularly devastating for Minnesotans living in the Northwest Angle, and I am committed to doing all that I can to help their recovery.”