Thunder Bay

Business community in Kenora looking forward to welcoming back Manitoba visitors

A board member of the local chamber of commerce in Kenora says allowing non-essential travel across Ontario’s provincial borders will be beneficial for the northwestern Ontario city.

Restrictions against non-essential travel across Ontario's provincial borders ended on Wednesday

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

A board member of the local chamber of commerce in Kenora says allowing non-essential travel across Ontario's provincial borders will be beneficial for the northwestern Ontario city.

After nearly two months, non-essential travel was again permitted across Ontario's provincial boundaries on Wednesday.

Tim Warkentin described Kenora as a tourist town and destination area, adding the local business community is welcoming back Manitoba visitors with open arms.

"Our population probably increases 50 per cent when our cottage owners come, and they're kind of almost like an extended family here, and we miss them," he said.

Warkentin said many businesses in Kenora, which is about 50 kilometres from Ontario's border with Manitoba, have struggled to stay afloat with decreased traffic.

While not required, Ontario recommends visitors coming from outside of the province isolate for 14 days following their entry.

Warkentin said he has a lot of friends and family from Manitoba and they've expressed excitement about coming.

An Ontario Provincial Police spokesperson said nearly 24,000 vehicles were stopped and screened at the Manitoba border during the nine weeks while the restrictions were in effect, with close to 400 being denied entry. Commercial vehicles and vehicles with Ontario plates were not stopped and were not counted, the statement added.

now