The Ontario/Manitoba border is now open after nearly two months and Northwestern Ontario is expecting a busy weekend.
"With the border restrictions being lifted we know this is going to be like May Long weekend for folks from the west. We ask all travellers to put the phones down, no distracted driving, travel patiently and make sure to get to your destination safely," says Kenora O.P.P. Detachment Commander, Inspector Jeff Duggan.
The restrictions at the border came into effect on April 19 disallowing many summer residents to head to their cottages.
"I want to thank the officers that work in the Kenora Detachment and the region. Our members were out there and we even had officers come in from Toronto to help us out with some staffing. The O.P.P. is generally tasked with protecting the public, and now that the restrictions have been lifted, like I said, we want everyone to arrive safely at their destination," he adds.
Residents and visitors are reminded to continue to practice COVID-19 precautions such as wearing a mask, washing your hands, and social distancing.
The province of Manitoba is under a critical provincial response level as its five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 10.6 per cent provincially and 9.9 per cent in Winnipeg. The Northwestern Health Unit catchment area in Ontario is reporting at 0.59 per cent for the week of June 7-13.
Manitoba’s Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin says, for the most part, Manitobans will still need to self-isolate for 14-days upon returning to the province, but there is good news for cottage owners and essential workers.
"The only change right now to our travel isolation rules was the one we've already implemented. So, if you're fully vaccinated, in two weeks you will not need to isolate upon your return," Roussin said at a press conference on Monday when asked if Manitoba would make any changes to current travel restrictions given Ontario's news.
Roussin adds there are no current plans to alter the travel restrictions. That means people that wanted to go camping or visit others in Ontario would need to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return unless they have been fully vaccinated for two weeks and have an immunization card.