An Atlantic Canada travel bubble has been confirmed and will begin July 3.
On Wednesday, the Council of Atlantic Premiers announced travel restrictions in Atlantic Canada will be eased as COVID-19 case numbers remain low in each province.
Interprovincial travel will be allowed to happen between Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador without self-isolation.
“Nova Scotians and Atlantic Canadians have worked hard to flatten the curve and we’re now in a place where we can ease restrictions within our region,” said Premier Stephen McNeil in a statement. “This will allow families to travel and vacation this summer, boosting our tourism and business sectors.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming our neighbours back.”
Visitors from other provinces and territories will have to follow guidelines of the specific province they are visiting.
“COVID-19 remains a risk and we must do all we can to prevent this virus from getting a stronger foothold in our region,” said McNeil.
Visitors from non-Maritime provinces and territories still must adhere to the local entry requirements in place in each of the four jurisdictions. Other Canadian visitors to the Maritime provinces that have self-isolated for 14 days may travel within the Maritime region.
Each province will choose its own process for tracking and monitoring travellers.
McNeil says anyone coming into the province will have to identify where they’re from with either a driver’s licence or a health card.
“Anyone outside of that will be required and told to self-isolate for 14 days, if you don’t live inside of Atlantic Canada,” said McNeil.
According to the Council of Atlantic Premiers, the Maritime premiers noted the decision to ease travel restrictions in the region was guided by chief medical officers of health in each province and will continue to be closely monitored.
“All public health directives present in each province must be adhered to, including not travelling if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 and practicing physical distancing and good hand hygiene,” the joint Council of Atlantic Premiers statement reads.
The eased restrictions come after all four provinces reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.
New Brunswick is the only Atlantic Canadian province with active cases of COVID-19, with 16 in total.
“Limiting the movement of people has limited the movement of the virus, and that has kept our case numbers relatively low,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health in New Brunswick. “But I am convinced that we can reconnect with others and still stay safe, if we remain committed to protecting ourselves and our loved ones.”
According to the province, the number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 165 and 147 have recovered, including 26 related to the outbreak in Zone 5 (Campbellton region).
New Brunswick also noted there have been two deaths to date.
Currently, there are two patients hospitalized with one in an intensive care unit.
At the press briefing, Premier Blaine Higgs also announced that the Campbellton region will move into the Yellow level with the rest of the province.
“In all zones of the province, all remaining businesses can open with appropriate distancing and sanitizing, and operational plans respecting WorkSafeNB and Public Health guidelines,” the province said in a statement.
Higgs said all the premiers of Atlantic Canada have been discussing the time of when the provinces will open to the rest of Canada, and expects it to be in mid or late July.
Nova Scotia has seen a total of 1,061 confirmed cases and 63 deaths – 53 of them at Northwood Manor in Halifax. The last reported confirmed case came on June 9.
Newfoundland and Labrador has seen 261 confirmed cases and three deaths. The most recent case of COVID-19 was recorded on May 28.
Prince Edward Island had just 27 cases of COVID-19 and all have recovered. The last reported case on the island was April 28.
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