Ontario and Manitoba residents can finally breathe a sigh of relief as the Ontario/Manitoba border is open to non-essential travel. That means cottage owners and tourists can now enter into the province.
As of Wednesday at 12:01 a.m. the Ontario/Manitoba border restrictions were lifted after almost two months of being closed to non-essential travel and the O.P.P. checkpoints were removed.
For Ontario residents, this is huge to be able to travel to Manitoba for groceries, shopping, and other amenities that were closed to residents previously.
The question is, for Ontario residents what are the restrictions or guidelines towards exiting and re-entering the province? The Northwestern Health Unit Medical Officer Dr. Kit Young Hoon spoke on the matter in a media briefing on Tuesday.
“I urge the public to avoid nonessential travel to higher risk areas, including Manitoba. If travel must happen to higher risk areas, all prevention measures must be followed and people should limit interactions as much as possible for 14 days after returning home.I also ask that people avoid travel to areas where there is a delta variant.” said Young Hoon
Below is the updated list of travel recommendations from the NWHU:
Avoid non-essential travel to higher-risk areas for non-essential reasons, especially to areas where the delta variant is present.
Upon entry into our region from a higher-risk area, limit interactions with others as much as possible for 14 days.
Regarding travel, it is not permitted to host others or be hosted in someone else's home. The only exceptions are for caregivers or for those who live alone.
Essential reasons for traveling may include: accessing medical services, shared parenting arrangements, palliative visits, etc; or travel to provide essential services such as truckers, health care providers, emergency response, enforcement officers, and essential construction and maintenance of public infrastructure.
General Travel advice:
Anyone who travels and develops symptoms should self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19.
It is advised that residents do not host out-of-town guests or gather indoors with anyone they do not live with.
Follow all COVID-19 prevention measures (masking, physical distancing, hand hygiene) while travelling.
Note that some workplaces, schools, or communities may have policies that impact what you must do after travelling.
The activities you do while travelling can impact your risk of getting COVID-19. If you must travel, avoid:
public transportation (like airplanes, buses, and subways);
crowded areas where physical distancing is challenging;
getting within 2 metres of anyone you do not live with.
Young Hoon did add that for Manitoba residents entering Northwestern Ontario there is no requirement for them to self-isolate due to the varying risks of activities. However, Ontario residents should be aware of the high case counts of COVID-19 and also a high risk of the Delta variant in Manitoba.
Manitobans visiting Ontario are reminded that they must self-isolate for 14 days after returning to their home province unless they have been fully vaccinated for two weeks and/or have their immunization card.
The province of Manitoba’s five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate is 8.8 per cent provincially and 9.2 per cent in Winnipeg. The Northwestern Health Unit catchment area is reported 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.