Quebecers coming into South Glengarry during COVID-19 ‘has to be dealt with’

(Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

SOUTH GLENGARRY – The region’s medical officer of health says he’s met with government officials about how to stop Quebec residents making unnecessary shopping trips in Ontario during the coronavirus pandemic – namely South Glengarry.

While Quebec Provincial Police are stopping Ontarians from going into La Belle Province for non-essential trips, it’s and free-and-clear trip into Ontario for Quebecers. In fact, there are reports Quebec residents are showing up in grocery stores as far west in SD&G as Morrisburg and Iroquois.

Some residents in South Glengarry are upset Quebec residents are showing up in their communities – namely Lancaster and Bainsville – to shop for things like cigarettes and lottery tickets in a community with a older, vulnerable population and three nursing homes in the area.

“This is something that has been concerning me all day. I heard about it. To compound issues, on Sundays, Quebec closes their stores,” Roumeliotis told Cornwall Newswatch Monday afternoon.

During the 4:15 p.m. news conference Monday, Roumeliotis said he had a telephone conference with MP Eric Duncan, MPP Jim McDonell and local mayors a half hour prior about the inter-provincial issue.

“This is one of my concerns. I do have a concern about that,” and Roumeliotis says he has notified the Ontario Ministries of Health and Intergovernmental Affairs.

“This has to be dealt with. Do we have a curfew the other way? Yes, that’s part of our plan. If you look at our extension of our public health measures we would be saying, no, you can’t come here for non-essential reasons. These people came in and shopped because their stores were closed. I don’t consider that essential,” he said.

Roumeliotis says from a health perspective we should be limiting traffic both ways. But he says it’s out of his jurisdiction to make any changes – that will be up to the provincial government through the Ontario Provincial Police.

“The playing field needs to be level.”