NIAGARA FALLS, ONTARIO — ​If you’ve been wanting to visit our friends to the north, you’re going to have to wait a bit longer.

Starting Saturday, Ontario will enter a four-week-long provincial-wide shutdown in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Canadian officials say the shutdown is the result of an alarming surge in case numbers and hospitalizations from variants.

This also comes as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise across Western New York.

Prior to news breaking Thursday of the upcoming shutdown, Spectrum News talked with the mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario about the border closure, which has been in place since the pandemic started last year.

He stresses the importance of the vaccine, saying it is key to gradually get to a place where it is safe to reopen.

"The part we're trying to say is, you know if people can show proof of vaccination they should be allowed to cross the border because that's what it's all about. I had the Premier in town on Monday, the Premier of Ontario, and we said it's all about vaccinations, vaccinations, vaccinations. The sooner we get it done, the quicker we'll be able to open the border, we know it's going to be gradual more of a dimmer switch than a light switch," Mayor Jim Diodati said.

No official border reopening has been announced by U.S. or Canadian officials.

Canada is ramping up vaccinations and adults there should be able to get at least one dose by July.