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Canadian government in 'constructive talks' to extend cross-border travel restrictions
WINDSOR, ONT. -- Canada is looking to extend the non-essential travel restrictions put place in March, quashing the prospect of loosening the cross-border shutdown.
Sources with knowledge of the bilateral talks told the Globe and Mail the non-essential travel ban will be extended until June 21, adding Canada asked for a 30-day roll over to June 21.
The sources also say they’re almost certain Washington will agree to the plan.
“Conversations are ongoing, are constructive, are productive. I won’t make any announcements today, but I can say things are going well, and we’re confident about being able to continue to keep Canadians safe,”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday during his daily media briefing. The decisions are being guided by data and science — as well as Canada’s top doctor, Dr. Theresa Tam, who says the United States is a country still trying to manage outbreaks.
“They present a risk to Canada, from that perspective, so we have to take that into account,” Dr. Tam says.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is on record stating it’s too soon to reopen the border to non-essential travel, a position he reaffirmed Wednesday.
“We love our American neighbours to the south,” Ford said. “But right now, we’re going to have to keep the borders closed. We just can’t risk it.”
Windsor’s mayor predicts it may be a while before quick trips across the Detroit River resume.
“I think we’re probably ways away from a realistic full opening of the border, where folks are going to go over and get gas, groceries, and go have dinner, go shopping over in Detroit,” Drew Dilkens says, adding he’s unsure how long the border shutdown could last.
Many Windsorites share the concerns expressed by upper levels of government. “I used to go over for gas and groceries all the time,” says Dave Allen, adding he’s also concerned with how people stateside are reacting to government imposed shutdowns.
“Since Donald’s been in, I have no use to go over there whatsoever. It’s just not safe.” Dan Dionne, an employee at the Windsor Assembly Plant says allowing essential businesses to cross has worked well, but current restrictions on non-essential trips should be maintained.
“I don’t think there’s any sense of urgency right now I think things are still a little creepy right now, people are adjusting to a new reality and I think waiting a little bit longer might be the prudent thing to do,” Dionne says.
But 15-year-old Marcus Allen is in a different boat. His dad and grandparents live in Detroit. “I’m not used to not seeing them all the time,” Allen says.
The teenager hasn’t seen them since the border restrictions were put in place March 21 and says FaceTime calls and phone chats just aren’t as good as the real thing.
“I was hoping to go see him soon, but they have to do what they have to do, like, with the situation were in,” Allen says. “But I would like to go over very soon, just for a little, even.”
Prime Minister Trudeau says a decision will be made official in the coming days.