Premier Dennis King announced that the PEI is “suspending our participation in the Atlantic bubble”, which means that those arriving on the Island from other Atlantic provinces will now have to isolate themselves for 14 days.
The announcement was made during an unscheduled COVID-19 meeting on Monday morning, after a weekend spike in cases in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
King said that as of 12:01 pm on Tuesday – just after midnight on Monday – the PEI is suspending all non-essential travel to and from Prince Edward Island for two weeks.
“This is an extra layer of caution,” said King, who spoke on Sunday with his fellow Atlantic prime ministers. “It is our hope that we can break the transmission chain.”
He said his government will reassess the situation on December 7.
King’s announcement came following word from Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey that he also “made the difficult decision to interrupt the circuit. People arriving from within the Atlantic bubble will have to isolate themselves for 14 days”.
The new rules will take effect on Wednesday in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Since July 3, residents of the four Atlantic provinces have been able to travel relatively freely across each other’s borders without quarantine. That freedom ends with Monday’s two announcements – at least for now.
King said he expected PEI’s exit from the bubble to be temporary, adding that when it was announced in June, the goal was eventually to expand it to include people from other parts of Canada where the spread of the community was low or non-existent.
A new confirmed case
After King spoke about the new PEI rules, Dr. Heather Morrison confirmed a new case of COVID-19 on the Island, a 40-year-old woman who traveled from outside the Atlantic bubble.
That person is isolating and contact tracking is in progress.
In fact, the PEI is likely to have cases.– Dr. Heather Morrison
“In recent days, it has become apparent that our neighbors in Atlantic Canada, especially Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, are experiencing a second wave,” said Morrison. “It is very likely that the PEI has cases.
“I’m concerned that I’m already here with some people.”
Back to entry request
Morrison said that those coming to the province from the other three Atlantic provinces will now need to apply again to enter the PEI and students returning to the PEI will need to isolate themselves for two weeks.
Any employee working in long-term care who leaves the Island will not be eligible for job isolation upon return. Morrison said a more in-depth discussion will take place on Monday about possible changes to the guidelines at the homes.
People can continue to travel for medical appointments, and compassionate and custody trips can continue. But there will be no more interprovincial sports tournaments.
“I urge all islanders to keep their social circles small,” said Morrison. “We know that COVID-19 moves as we go.”
For anyone who returned from Nova Scotia or New Brunswick last week, Morrison said that contacts should be limited, testing should be organized if symptoms appear and a mask should be worn at all times – including when in the presence of others outdoors .
Students can attend school
As for the children returning from these provinces, Morrison said that while they can continue to attend school, they should not attend sporting events or birthday parties.
“The changes announced today are not forever, just for now … Together, we can do this,” she said.
On the island, Morrison is reminding islanders to stay home if they are ill and continue to follow public health guidelines. Implementing these new travel restrictions should allow people to continue to be able to go out quite freely and shop locally before Christmas, she added.
“This is our hope: that we can keep things in the best possible way in this province. But it will certainly be a challenge,” said Morrison.