Kenora Miner & News, May 21, 2021

No firm date for border reopening

Author of the article:

Ryan Stelter

Publishing date:

May 21, 2021 • 1 day ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation

A Kenora OPP officer directs traffic entering Ontario at the rest stop at the provincial border with Manitoba on Monday, April 19.PHOTO BY RYAN STELTER/Miner and News

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Ontario’s solicitor general says the provincial boundary with Manitoba will reopen on June 2, but not without adding that the closure could be extended.

In an emailed statement to the Miner, a spokesperson for Sylvia Jones said the province has the power to extend the current ban on inter-provincial travel in 14-day increments. The border closure is separate from the province’s current stay-at-home order, which is also slated to be lifted on June 2.

Ontario’s borders to Manitoba and Quebec have been closed to non-essential travel since April 19, when the province announced stricter lockdown measures in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19.

On Thursday, Premier Doug Ford unveiled a three-step reopening plan that included opening up certain outdoor amenities. Step one of the three-stage reopening plan includes allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, outdoor dining with up to four people at a table and non-essential retail allowed to reopen at 15 per cent capacity. Step one is expected to begin the week of June 14, but that could change according to the province.                                                                                                                                                                                                        

In a prepared statement, Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford thanked the people of northwestern Ontario and Manitoba for their patience during the temporary border restrictions.

“As cases continue to go down and more people are getting vaccinated each day, we can move forward with our plan to reopen,” Rickford said. “We look forward to welcoming our friends and family from Manitoba and beyond back to our beautiful region.”

Under the current emergency order, people can enter Ontario for work, medical care, transporting goods and services and exercising Indigenous treaty rights.

These exceptions do not include visiting a cottage or seasonal residence unless it’s to prevent critical damage to a property.

As of May 21, there are 26 active COVID-19 cases within the Northwestern Health Unit catchment area and one person in hospital. There are 15 confirmed cases in the Sioux Lookout health hub, five in Dryden, four in Kenora and one each in Fort Frances and Atikokan.