Niagara's border bridges eerily quiet Saturday night following closure of non-essential travel

CCTV_561

A rare scene on Saturday night as Niagara’s border bridges sit empty.

Canada’s shared border with the U.S. has officially closed to non-essential travel as part of an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.c

The closure took effect at 12:01 E.T. on Saturday.

Essential cross-border workers like health-care professionals, air crews and supply chains will be permitted to cross.

However, anyone attempting to cross the border for tourism or recreational reasons will be turned away.

The measure will be in place for 30 days.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the move is a "temporary" measure that’s required in this unprecedented time.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says Canadians in “extraordinary circumstances” will be given leeway at the border.

"Officials on both side of the border are working very closely to make sure that there is a consistency in the way in which these measures will be implemented," said Blair. "There is an expectation that border officers will exercise the appropriate discretion in determining those in exceptional and extraordinary circumstances if the travel is in fact essential."

The government has noted trade will continue, to prevent an even greater economic dip and to ensure essential goods flow from country-to-country.

Minister Blair said Friday he is encouraging truckers still crossing the border regularly to practice recommended hygiene measures and self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.