An alarming surge in ICU admission forces Ontario to enter a third COVID-19 shutdown. The "emergency brake" shutdown begins this weekend and will last for at least a month.
Premier Doug Ford said the rapidly spreading coronavirus variants are to blame.
"This is a new pandemic. We're now fighting a new enemy. The new variants are far more dangerous than before," said Ford
The announcement comes as a major blow to American Sandy Pearce, who has lived in Fort Erie for more than 40 years.
"Ontario, Canada, we're getting a little bit fed up. Because it's been over a year, and it's getting worse," said Pearce.
Pearce said she has family in Blasdell and Hamburg that she hasn't seen in a year.
"I'm literally 15 minutes away from my parents, maybe 10. The most important thing to me is being reunited with my family," she said.
That's why she started a group called Families are Essential. The group advocates for reuniting and making families essential, to be able to cross the border.
They held peaceful protests on either side of the border this past weekend.
"Nobody seems to be giving us any attention or caring about the families, especially in border towns," said Pearce.
Premiere Ford said retail shops can remain open at limited capacity, but there will be no indoor or outdoor dining in Ontario, and all personal care and fitness facilities will be closed.
Indoor social gatherings are prohibited and outdoor gatherings will be limited to five people.
According to COVID19tracker.ca, more than two million vaccine doses have been administered in Ontario as of Friday, and 13 percent of the Canadian population have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
So far, more than 57 million people in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated.