Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he is open to closing Canada’s borders to visitors amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, but stressed that commerce cannot be blocked.
“I’d be open to closing the border to visitors, but not to trade and commerce,” Ford said during a Monday morning news conference.
“We have to keep the supply chain going.”
Ford also said he has not been having conversations with other leaders about restricting inter-provincial movement.
“That hasn’t come up right now,” he said.
During an interview with Radio-Canada’s Montreal morning show last Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government is “evaluating day-to-day what to do” with the border.
“As you’ve seen, there are recommendations not to travel outside of Canada. We’re in the midst of co-ordinating with the Americans, obviously, on our borders, on our actions,” said Trudeau. “We’ll continue to evaluate what we can do and how we can keep Canadians in security and we won’t close the door on any idea.”
On Monday morning, Ford threw his support behind the work of Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Trudeau. “He’s showing good leadership,” he said of the prime minister.
Provincial health officials said on Monday morning that there are 177 cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, which is a jump of 32 cases from yesterday afternoon’s official tally. All but nine of those are in the GTA. Five of them have been resolved.
Asked about the possibility of shutting down non-essential businesses, Ford said that “everything’s on the table” but that for now they are heeding the advice of the province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams.
Meanwhile, more businesses are voluntarily reducing their hours or outright closing, and stock markets in Toronto and New York plunged when they opened on Monday morning.