Border closures extended as cases continue to fall 

Border closures extended as cases continue to fall 

The restrictions, which limit travel between the two provinces for non-essential purposes, were due to expire in Ontario on Wednesday. But the Ontario government announced over the weekend that the border closures would be extended until at least June 16. Quebec is enforcing similar restrictions for those attempting to visit from Ontario. 

Police have been set up at checkpoints along the border, including Long Sault Bridge between Hawkesbury and Grenville and the Highway 417-Autoroute 40 intersection, since mid-April. In recent weeks, more officers from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have patrolled the Hawkesbury side than Sûreté du Québec officers on the Grenville side, but restrictions have not changed. 

The Ontario side of the border remains under a stay at home order until June 2, while patios and non-essential retail are not expected to open until at least the week of June 14. In Quebec, meanwhile, a curfew ended after four months on the weekend, and patios were allowed to reopen. 

On Monday, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) marked its lowest active case count since February. Just 114 cases were active in the region on Monday, compared to a third-wave high of 510 on April 19. The lowest active case count in the region this year was 101 on February 23, during a slight lull between the second and third waves. 

Seven new cases were reported in the EOHU over the weekend, five of which were in Prescott-Russell. No institutional outbreaks were recorded in the region as of Monday, but an additional death was reported. 

EOHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said it had been a strong weekend in the area. “Great work our community has done to get the numbers down,” he said. “We need to continue so we can go into [reopening] and not look back.” 

Of the 114 active cases in the EOHU on Monday, 62 were in Prescott-Russell communities, including 16 in Russell, 14 in Clarence-Rockland, 14 in Hawkesbury, 11 in Alfred-Plantagenet, 3 in Casselman, 2 in The Nation, 1 in Champlain, and 1 in East Hawkesbury. 

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