Mayor asks Ottawa residents to avoid travel to Gatineau during COVID-19 shutdown

A pedestrian walks past The Bank of Canada in Ottawa on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Ottawa residents are being asked not to cross the Ottawa River to visit family and friends or for leisure reasons during the four-week shutdown in Ontario and the lockdown in Gatineau.

"Please stay on this side of the Ottawa River unless you need to go to Quebec for work or care for a loved one," said Jim Watson on Thursday.

The Ontario government is imposing a month-long shutdown starting on Saturday. Non-essential businesses are allowed to remain open, while indoor and patio dining is prohibited at bars and restaurants. Indoor gatherings are prohibited, while residents can gather with a maximum of five people outdoors.

The Outaouais has moved into the Level-4 Maximum Alert red zone, while Quebec has imposed a 10-day "pause" on Gatineau and the MRC des Collines-de-l'Outaouais.  The lockdown in Gatineau includes an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, while non-essential businesses must close.

"I've spoken with Mayor (Maxime) Pedneaud-Jobin, and we both agreed that for the time being we will be telling our residents not to visit each other's cities," said Watson.

Ontario is asking people to stay home except for essential travel.