Canada’s Ontario setting up COVID-19 border checkpoints to stop non-essential travelers

  • Ontario to stop and turn away all non-essential travelers from other provinces
  • New Ontario travel restrictions will take effect on Monday, April 19
  • New provisions toughen COVID-19 lockdown rules that are already the strictest in North America

The officials in Canada‘s Ontario announced today that the province is setting up COVID-19 checkpoints at its borders with neighboring provinces of Manitoba and Quebec in order to stop and turn away all non-essential travelers.

According to Premier Doug Ford, the new travel restrictions will take effect on Monday, April 19, and only people who need to enter Ontario to work, receive medical care or deliver goods will be allowed to cross the provincial borders. Ford also extended a stay-at-home order for Ontario residents to six weeks from four weeks and gave police new powers to ramp up enforcement of his pandemic restrictions.

The new provisions toughen COVID-19 lockdown rules that Ford described as already the strictest in North America. Outdoor gatherings with people from other households are banned under the new orders, and capacity limits for large retailers will be cut to 25% of normal.

Indoor religious gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 10 people, and non-essential construction projects are being suspended. There are also new restrictions on outdoor recreational venues, such as soccer fields and playgrounds.

Ford called on Canada’s federal government to tighten control of international borders and further restrict air travel into the country. Canada set a new single-day record for new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, with 9,561. Nearly half of those cases were in Ontario, which is dealing with record COVID-19 hospitalizations as new variants of the virus spread.

“We’re losing the battle between the variants and the vaccines,” Ford said. “The pace of our vaccine supply has not kept up with the spread of the new COVID variants. We are on our heels. But if we dig in, remain steadfast, we can turn this around.”

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