TORONTO -- Premier Doug Ford is urging people in neighbouring provinces, as well as the United States, to not cross the border as Ontario continues to grapple with the spread of COVID-19.

“We don’t want people right now coming across the border,” Ford said on Wednesday. “I love Quebecers, I love people from Manitoba, but stay at home. That goes for the U.S. as well.”

“When this is over we welcome you with open arms.”

Many businesses in Quebec are slated to reopen in early May and elementary schools and daycares are expected to resume operations on May 11.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault said on Tuesday that the spread of the virus appears to be mostly under control outside of the province’s long-term care homes.

Ford said that while he respects Legault and the decisions he makes, he doesn’t want to risk the health of Ontarians by encouraging travel between the provinces.

“It’s nothing personal. We just, we can’t afford the spread of this virus here in Ontario. We are doing so well.”

On Wednesday, Ontario health officials reported the lowest single day increase of new COVID-19 cases in just over three weeks.

Ford said that while the numbers are showing a “positive trend,” he is still waiting before assigning any dates to reopen the economy.

MORE: Ontario unveils steps to reopen

He stressed that anyone who doesn’t live in Ontario should stay in their province or country.

“We just can’t risk it,” the premier said. “I emphasize, the people who don’t live in Ontario, we welcome you another time, we just can’t have you into our province at this point.”

This isn’t the first time Ford has strongly condemned border crossings. In mid-April he fired back at United States President Donald Trump for indicating there could soon be loosened restrictions at the border.

"Trudeau should say no right away," Ford said at the time. "Until we have this under containment, we need to have our borders closed."

“I don't want them (Americans) in Ontario….I want to put the people of Ontario first."


An earlier version of this story quoted the Ontario premier in the headline as saying "stay away," when in fact Doug Ford said people in other provinces should "stay at home."