Manitoba

Police patrol Ontario border 24/7 to enforce ban on non-essential travel

While police will be at the Ontario border 24/7 to keep Manitobans from driving in for non-essential reasons, Premier Brian Pallister says the province has no plans to set up checkpoints to keep Ontarians out. 

Manitoba premier says province won't ban non-essential travel for Ontarians

A police officer stops a motorist at a police checkpoint at the Manitoba-Ontario provincial boundary after new COVID-19 restrictions came into effect, limiting non-essential travel into the province of Ontario, near Whiteshell, Man. (REUTERS/Shannon VanRaes)

While police will be at the Ontario border 24/7 to keep Manitobans from driving in for non-essential reasons, Premier Brian Pallister says the province has no plans to set up checkpoints to keep Ontarians out.

Ontario has closed its borders to Manitobans for non-essential travel in an effort to get a handle on its COVID-19 numbers. 

That includes Manitobans who have cottages in northwestern Ontario, unless they need to make emergency repairs. 

Const. Jason Canfield with the Ontario Provincial Police said the border will be manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until travel restrictions are lifted. He was working at a checkpoint on the TransCanada Highway near the Whiteshell Provincial Park Monday morning. 

He says if Manitobans do need to cross the border to make emergency repairs to their cottage, they might be allowed in, but would likely have to give officers their contact information and show some type of proof that they're making repairs. 

"Right now, if someone tells us they have something going on, we could follow up with them, get their cottage address, maybe the name of a contractor and follow up with them," he said. 

"But that would be up to the officer to decide what steps they'd use."

Ontario Provincial Police will be at the Manitoba-Ontario border 24/7 to prevent non-essential travel into Ontario. (REUTERS/Shannon VanRaes)

An OPP news release says people may still enter Ontario for essential travel purposes, which include those travelling for work in Ontario, health-care matters, child care or custody matters, transportation of goods and those travelling through Ontario to another location. 

Security at airports, but no road checkpoints

Manitoba's current COVID-19 regulations require anyone entering the province to self-isolate. 

The premier said Monday that security officers from Commissionaires will now be at the Winnipeg airport to speak with incoming travellers about the province's rules. 

This is the first time the province has taken this step. 

"These are measures to step up the enforcement that sadly is necessary because some people need to get the message more directly than most of you who've already acted on these messages," Pallister said during a news conference. 

A drone shot of the Manitoba-Ontario border after new COVID-19 restrictions came into effect in Ontario, banning non-essential travel into the province. (CBC)

However, he said the province wasn't planning on closing its borders entirely or setting up extra security at its borders like Ontario has. 

"We want to make sure that we're continuing to take the necessary measures to protect Manitobans and right now keeping Ontarians from northwest Ontario out of Manitoba isn't at the top of the list," he said.

With files from Julien Sahuquillo

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