SAULT STE. MARIE -- As the province prepares to reopen, the Canada-U.S. border is still closed.

But after consultations with border city mayors, including the mayor of Sault Ste. Marie, Ottawa is looking at mid-June for a re-opening of land crossings.

Mayor Christian Provenzano said he was approached in May by Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair to convene a meeting of border city mayors to discuss the eventual reopening of the border. He said vaccination rates will be a key factor.

"It will be done in a staged approach and it will be tied, essentially, to vaccination rates," Provenzano said. "So, we don’t really have any more detail than that. The main point that was made to the minister and the government was that we all thought it was really important that the government have a clear, transparent plan and that they make that plan public."

Provenzano said he believes a border re-opening plan is imminent. He said while many people in the Sault are anxious to visit their American neighbours, public health and safety must come first.

On Wednesday, the feds announced plans to remove the quarantine hotel requirement for fully vaccinated Canadian travellers returning to the country. It is expected to come into effect in early July.

The U.S.-Canada border has been closed for non-essential travel since March 2020. The current closure expires on June 21.

ALGOMA'S COVID-19 SITUATION

As of June 9 at 3 p.m., the Algoma District had six active COVID-19 infections among residents along with one non-resident currently in the region. Since the pandemic began, there have been a total of 396 COVID-19 cases in Algoma and six COVID-related deaths. To date, 60.2 per cent of Algoma residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 11.2 per cent of the eligible population ages 12 and older are fully vaccinated with two doses.

As of June 10, the percentage of Canadians who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine is just under 63 per cent, out of 72 per cent of the population currently eligible. Just over nine per cent of Canada's total population has been fully vaccinated.

Canada currently has the twelfth highest number of first doses of the COVID-19 in the world.

COVID-19 VACCINATION RATES IN THE U.S.

In the U.S., 63.9 per cent of adults have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at the time of publication and 51.8 per cent of the total population. Meanwhile, 42.5 per cent of the total U.S. population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.