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Quebec-Ontario border to reopen to non-essential travel as of Wednesday

Ontario Provincial Police check travellers entering Ontario from Quebec as new COVID-19 measures take effect Monday, April 19, 2021 in Hawkesbury, Ontario. Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

The Quebec-Ontario border is fully reopening to all forms of travel starting Wednesday after it was shut down for nearly two months to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“This reopening applies to anyone wishing to travel between the two provinces, without exception,” Quebec’s Public Security Ministry said in a statement issued Monday.

The border between the two provinces, which have been hard hit by the health crisis, was initially closed in late April to non-essential trips as Ontario saw novel coronavirus cases spike.

There were some exceptions during that period, but police presence was heavy on both sides in a bid to stem the tide of the virus. Checkpoints were set up at points of entry to enforce the closure.

Read more: Quebec records 123 new cases as pandemic restrictions are relaxed

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With the reopening, Quebec Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault still urges caution while travelling between the two provinces.

A requirement that people travelling from Ontario to Quebec to return to their primary residence quarantine for 14 days has been lifted.

Under the plan, Ontarians will also be allowed to dine in restaurants in la belle province — but they still have to respect measures in place.

“We are counting on the collaboration of Ontario visitors so that they comply with the health rules in force in the various areas of Quebec,” Guilbault wrote on Twitter.

READ MORE: Ottawa mayor objects to solicitor general quoting him on border closures

The decision comes as the situation improves in both provinces and other pandemic-related restrictions have been relaxed in recent weeks. As of Monday morning, all Quebec regions that were previously classified as orange zones on the province’s COVID-19 alert system were downgraded to yellow.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, who has been critical of the border shutdown, said Monday he was happy to learn the restrictions are ending.

“After months of wasted police resources to control travel around the NCR, our two highly integrated economic regions will greatly benefit from this decision,” he wrote on social media.

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Meanwhile, the border between Ontario and Manitoba will also reopen Wednesday.

Click to play video: 'Could Ontario see a spike in COVID-19 cases after the first reopening weekend?' Could Ontario see a spike in COVID-19 cases after the first reopening weekend?
Could Ontario see a spike in COVID-19 cases after the first reopening weekend? – Jun 14, 2021

—with files from Global News’ Craig Lord and The Canadian Press

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