If your cottage is on the opposite side of the Ottawa-Gatineau border to you, it might be a while before you can visit! Last weekend, Quebec police stationed at the border blocked 1,700 vehicles from crossing, and Gatineau’s Mayor has no plans to ease-off. For now, cottage visits in Ottawa-Gatineau are a no-go.

This week, Ontario Premier Doug Ford suggested that cottage season could be on the horizon, as there are positive signs in the province that the COVID-19 curve is flattening.

However, things may not be so optimistic over in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, as Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin says he’s not willing to take any chances just so people can visit their cottages.

In an interview this week, he explained that he wants to keep the border closed to all non-essential travel until it’s “not necessary anymore,” regardless of how that impacts cottage season.

“Ottawa is a hot zone, we’re a cold zone and we have to protect ourselves,” Pedneaud-Jobin told CTV News.

“So as long as it’s needed, I’m going to defend that decision by the Quebec Government,” he added.

The restrictions in place are being taken pretty seriously on the Gatineau side of the border, as the mayor confirmed that 20,000 vehicles had been stopped last weekend. 

Of these, 1,700 were turned away and weren't allowed to cross as planned.

The Ottawa-Gatineau border has been closed to non-essential travel for a number of weeks in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between the two provinces.

Since the beginning of April, the Sûreté du Québec and Gatineau police have been stationed at the border, and roadblocks have been set up on all five Ottawa-Gatineau bridges.

On the Ottawa side, things are a little more relaxed.

Previously, Mayor Jim Watson described the border situation as having "gone too far," and recently confirmed that local police wouldn't be blocking the border if Quebec reopens before Ontario.

While Pedneaud-Jobin admitted that everybody would like to see the border restrictions lifted, he says it can’t be a political decision.

“It has to be based on health principles, and it’s clear that the situation is very different on both sides of the river,” the mayor explained.

“I understand that many people, for example, would like to go to their cottage, but between the grandmother that’s life is threatened and someone who wants to go to the cottage, I’ll always choose the grandmother,” he concluded.

While the goal is not to punish people for non-essential travel, Pedneaud-Jobin previously admitted that fines are possible.

"If their reason [to cross the border] is not valid, they could be sent home, but if they don’t cooperate they could face a fine from $1,000 to $6,000,” the mayor told CTV News last month.

"We've seen a lot of people going to their cottages, not to stay there, but they go for the weekend ... Those kinds of trips are not necessary. They should stay home. Go to the cottage after this crisis."

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