The bridge linking Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, was open for traffic Monday after a week of angry protests against COVID-19 mandates that had shut down the largest border crossing between the U.S. and Canada.
“The Ambassador Bridge is now fully open allowing the free flow of commerce between the Canada and U.S. economies once again,” Detroit International Bridge Co. said in a statement late Sunday. Traffic began rolling across the bridge shortly before midnight.
The protest was led by truckers on the Canadian side of the border, but on Friday a judge ordered the protest disbanded. Canadian authorities swept in Saturday and removed most of the trucks and protesters. About a dozen protesters who defied the order were arrested Sunday when the last vehicles blocking the bridge were towed away.
“Today, our national economic crisis at the Ambassador Bridge came to an end,” said Drew Dilkens, the mayor of Windsor, Canada. “Border crossings will reopen when it is safe to do so, and I defer to police and border agencies to make that determination.”
Protesters, who have created havoc at the capital in Ottawa for three weeks, say they object to Canada’s COVID-19 rules. Truckers calling themselves the Freedom Convoy are opposing a mandate requiring drivers entering Canada to be fully vaccinated or face testing and quarantine requirements.
Also in the news:
►Japan is considering easing its stringent border controls amid growing criticism that the measures, which have banned most foreign entrants including students and business travelers, are hurting the country’s economy and international profile.
►Walmart will no longer require fully vaccinated workers to wear masks while working in stores unless mandated by local or state rules.
📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 77.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 919,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 411.4 million cases and over 5.8 million deaths. More than 213.8 million Americans – 64.4% – are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘What we’re reading: What’s it like to be stuck in COVID isolation during the Olympics? Bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor explains how quarantine was her biggest foe in the games.
Gov. Phil Murphy’s requirement that workers in high-risk settings get the COVID-19 vaccine — and a booster shot, when they’re eligible — survived a legal challenge Friday when a state appellate court dismissed a bid by New Jersey’s largest police union to block the mandate.
In a 34-page opinion, a panel of three judges brushed aside the New Jersey Policemen’s Benevolent Association’s claim that Murphy overstepped his bounds when he declared last month that certain workers in crowded, high-risk environments such as hospitals and prisons — including about 11,000 county and state corrections officers — must get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs.
The executive order “represents a rational and measured response to our present circumstances,” the judges wrote, adding that they found no merit in any of the PBA’s arguments.
Across the country, police unions from Chicago to Seattle have pushed back against coronavirus vaccine mandates. The New Jersey ruling follows a nationwide pattern of police unions losing their bids to block vaccine mandates, including in some of the country’s most populous areas like Los Angeles and New York state.
— Steve Janoski, NorthJersey.com
Contributing: The Associated Press