MONTREAL -- The Lacolle crossing was quiet on Saturday, as the last travellers ventured between Canada and the United States before the border was shut down for non-essential travel.

While the U.S.-bound lanes were already blocked, snowbirds and other travellers trickled back into Canada before the deadline at midnight.

Charles Dockery was spending three weeks in New York City but had to cut his trip short.

“I had to leave because things were just getting out of control,” he said. “In Grand Central Station, for example, there were maybe 20 people in the main concourse. It was just unbelievable. No one is on the subways, it's a ghost town.”

Once the deadline passed, anyone trying to cross the border for tourism or leisure is turned away. Trade and commerce between the two countries will continue. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked Canadians to minimize not just international travel, but also non-essential travel to other provinces as a means to cut down on COVID-19 transmission.

Edward Jacobo returned to Canada from Florida, flying into Plattsburgh and taking a taxi to the Lacolle crossing, where he entered the country on foot. Jacobo said he will enter a 14-day self-isolation as mandated by the government.

“I was supposed to be there for two months, but was only there 16 days,” he said. “I think we're going to be better off in Canada for our health.”