Ritchie, Walczyk Call for Vaccine Eligibility for Cross-Border Truckers

Critical Step Would Keep Trade Channels Open, Prevent COVID-19 Spread

State Senator Patty Ritchie and Assemblyman Mark Walczyk are calling on the New York State Department of Health to expand vaccine eligibility to commercial truckers entering New York State from our northern border with Canada; a move that will help protect public health and safety, spur economic growth and speed the full reopening of the border.  

Earlier this week, Governor Cuomo announced that non-New Yorkers who are tourists are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. In a letter to New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, Ritchie and Walczyk requested clarification regarding whether the expanded eligibility includes commercial truckers entering New York from Canada.

In the event that it does not, the lawmakers urged Commissioner Zucker to take action and expand eligibility to cross border commercial truckers as other border states—like North Dakota and Montana—have done. 

“As with vaccination of tourists, expanding eligibility to Canadian truckers will not only help protect the health and safety of these travelers and any New Yorkers with whom they may come in contact, but also spur business and economic growth and speed the full reopening of the Canadian-U.S. border,” the letter reads.

The letter notes that New York has four of the most heavily trafficked border crossings between the two countries—Buffalo-Niagara Falls, Champlain-Rouses Point, Massena and the Thousand Islands Bridge in Alexandria Bay, which are all major truck portals. In addition, in smaller communities, cross-border trucks also provide a smooth, seamless supply line for important goods and products for consumers, manufacturers and vital businesses, as well as support local jobs.

A copy of Senator Ritchie and Assemblyman Walczyk’s letter can be viewed here.