THUNDER BAY - With cases of COVID-19 continuing to spike across most of the United States, Premier Doug Ford is calling on the federal government to keep the border closed to non-essential travel.
“I had a great conversation with the deputy prime minister and I said very clearly that I am not in favour of opening up the border July 21,” Ford said during his daily media briefing on Friday.
“Our borders, as long as the goods and products are flowing, which they have been, and I love our American neighbours, but not right now. Come visit us when things calm down, especially south of the border.”
The border was closed earlier this year to non-essential travel in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The province has since entered stage two of its three-stage reopening plan and has seen fewer than 200 new COVID-19 cases for more than a week.
“We are going to be very cautious on the borders and very cautious about opening up,” Ford said. “Eventually we will get there.”
The latest date for reopening the Canada/U.S. border is July 21, but last week Minister of Health Patty Hajdu said discussions are still ongoing with American counterparts on the future status of reopening.
There appears to me more of a push from south of the border to reopen to non-essential travel, with the majority of Canadians saying through various polls that the border should remain closed.
“I talked to a very smart doctor and I said when do you think a second wave is coming,” Ford said. “He said as soon as you open up the border to international travel, that is when you are going to get hit. That is concerning.”
And despite Ontario seeing a decline in new cases, there is still no definitive timeline for when the province will enter stage three of reopening.
“People are pressuring me, let’s open up to stage three, we are going to get there,” Ford said.
“But the same people would be coming after me saying why did you open up too early. I’m going to make sure we are careful and go with the guidance of our public health team.”