Many provincial borders are closed to non-residents this May Long Weekend
While some government-imposed social distancing measures are being eased up among the provinces and territories, many checkpoints and travel restrictions remain in place.
Here’s what you need to know about the travel policies in each province and territory for May long weekend.
While the province hasn’t implemented border checkpoints, the government is asking residents to avoid non-essential travel over the B.C.-Alberta border.
The B.C. government website does note, however, that Highway 77 is closed in both directions at Petitot River Bridge (4 km south of the border between British Columbia and the Northwest Territories). The road is closed to non-essential travel.
For travellers heading into Yukon via Highway 97 or Highway 37, crossings are limited to essential travel only
Alberta has no border checkpoints or travel restrictions. However, last month, the province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, “strongly advised” residents against going to summer homes.
Since then, part of the province’s relaunch plan includes reopening campgrounds and boat launches. Hinshaw continues to recommend limiting non-essential travel, but said the relaunch recognizes the importance of outdoor activities and recreation for Albertans’ well-being.
“If visiting summer cottages, respect the health and safety of small communities by planning your trip without stops for gas or food,” Hinshaw said in an email to CBC News. “When outdoors or in public, take all the necessary precautions to protect your health and the health of those around you.”
The province hasn’t closed its interprovincial border but issued an order in April that restricts all non-essential travel into and out of northern Saskatchewan, and limits travel between communities in the north. Travel for critical goods like groceries or medical trips is exempt.
That area covers nearly half of the province but has a low population relative to the rest of Saskatchewan.
Travel between northern communities is also restricted, though some exceptions are being made.
The province hasn’t closed its interprovincial borders, but it has established information checkpoints at provincial border crossings — four entering from Saskatchewan and one from Ontario — to inform travellers of the risk of COVID-19.
Anyone entering Manitoba, regardless of whether from another country or another province, must self-isolate for 14 days. Exceptions include people who are transporting goods and materials into or through Manitoba, if they are not displaying any COVID-19 symptoms, and those who provide vital services.
Travel to northern Manitoba and to remote communities that are not connected to the provincial highway system by a year-round all-weather roads is prohibited, with exemptions including federal or provincial government workers, those providing vital services, and those who live in northern and remote areas returning to their home communities or traveling in northern Manitoba.
There also continues to be a 50-kilometre “buffer zone” into northwestern Ontario, which means Manitobans who visit that part of the province won’t have to self-isolate after they return, though cottage owners are being urged to stay home.
There are no travel restrictions in Ontario so far, but Premier Doug Ford, after a joint call with cottage country mayors, asked would-be visitors to stay home — and for any cottage owners who do head north to ensure they practise physical distancing.
Roadblocks were set up several weeks ago as part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 and are being removed in three phases.
They have already been lifted in Laurentians, Lanaudière, Chaudière-Appalaches and Rouyn-Noranda.
On Monday, restrictions will be lifted in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, La Tuque and Outaouais (excluding Gatineau).
On May 18, restrictions will be lifted on Lower Saint-Lawrence, Gaspé, Magdalen Islands, North Shore and Charlevoix.
Travel restrictions will remain in place for several other regions, including the city of Gatineau, the Lower North Shore and all of northern Quebec, including James Bay and Nunavik.
The province’s state of emergency declaration bans all “non-essential” travel such as tourism and social visits. Provincial peace officers are stationed at each of the seven interprovincial land entry points in the province, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The province also began stationing officers at the Moncton and Fredericton airports on April 25. People are asked questions about the purpose of their travel and whether they have any COVID-19 symptoms.
Nova Scotia has implemented checkpoints at every major entry point into the province, and anyone entering is stopped and questioned.
Highways, airports and ferry terminals are being monitored, with staff telling travellers to self-isolate for 14 days, no matter where they’re coming from.
Some travellers are exempt from the self-isolation rules, including truckers, medical staff and other essential personnel.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Effective May 4, the only individuals permitted to enter the province are those who are residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, with some exceptions including asymptomatic workers.
The government has expanded the power of police to enforce public health orders, including a ban on out-of-province tourists, allowing officers to detain and take people to the border if they’re not supposed to be in the province.
Prince Edward Island is remaining closed to non-residents for the foreseeable future as it begins easing COVID-19 restrictions.
The province will continue to keep its provincial borders closed to non-residents, allowing only health-care providers and essential workers, such as truck drivers delivering goods, to cross the Confederation Bridge.
In late March, the province implemented screening measures at all three points of entry, and has been turning away anyone who isn’t a full-time resident, including people who own summer cottages in P.E.I.
Any residents who have travelled within Canada or internationally are ordered to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning.
Yukon, Nunavut, Northwest Territories
All three territories have active public health orders prohibiting non-essential travel from the rest of Canada.
Across the North, exceptions are made for returning residents, essential workers, and people exercising treaty rights.
In Yukon, non-residents are allowed to travel through the territory on their way to other destinations.
Nunavut requires that all travellers — even returning residents or critical workers — isolate for 14 days in designated centres in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton or Yellowknife before they travel into the territory.