Police checkpoints between Ottawa and Gatineau come down
OTTAWA -- Sporadic police checkpoints on the bridges between Ottawa and Gatineau have come to an end after more than eight weeks.
The Ontario government announced earlier this week that the restrictions on interprovincial travel from Quebec and Manitoba would end at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.
The restrictions came into effect April 19. Ottawa police were originally expected to spend 24 hours a day on the bridges and at ferry crossings to turn away non-essentially travellers, but quickly shifted to sporadic checks due to budgetary and staffing pressures.
Quebec responded by also keeping non-essential travellers from Ontario from visiting the province, with Gatineau police running occasional checkpoints on their side of the Ottawa River.
Ottawa mayor Jim Watson says the border checkpoints locally have cost the city as much as $800,000, a bill he intends to send to the provincial government.
The move was intended to help curb the spread of COVID-19, but Watson said all it did was waste time and resources.
Upon Ontario's announcement that the boundary between the two provinces would reopen, the Quebec government said it would allow Ontarians into the province again, and even said visitors are welcome to eat at local restaurants so long as they follow regional COVID-19 guidelines.
Gatineau is currently in Quebec's Level-2 or yellow zone, which allows for indoor dining with members of up to two households allowed per table.