On Tuesday, New Brunswick announced no fresh cases of COVID-19 and tourism operators are happy with the federal administration’s decision to reopen the country’s borders to fully immunized permanent residents and U.S. citizens for leisure travel, with no need to quarantine, beginning on Aug. 9.
The president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick, Carol Alderdice, said the Monday declaration is welcome news to the operators who have not spotted U.S. travellers since March 2020, when a ban on non-essential travel was implemented to limit the spread of the virus.
She said the border shutdowns were “devastating” to tourism operators across the region. In the previous year, all operators experienced 50 percent to 100 percent less revenue, and at least 10 members went out of business.
“There’s no way we could have survived another year like that,” Alderdice informed CBC’s Information Morning Fredericton.
Fishing and hunting outfitters specifically have “really struggled” because an estimated 90 percent of their customers hail from the U.S., she stated. “So this is extremely good news for them.”
If the case numbers remain low, fully immunized travellers from the rest of the globe will be permitted to come into Canada without having to isolate for two weeks from Sept. 7.
She anticipates seeing people from France, England, Germany, and other nations coming to see the beautiful fall colours.
Alderdice said it would be another boost for tourism operators who have seen an increase in visitors now that the region’s borders are open.
She added that New Brunswick’s decision last month to allow Canadians who have at least one dose of vaccine to come with no isolation or testing required has made “a big difference.”
“I know in different parts of the province, like the Acadian Peninsula, there’s been a lot of Quebecers travelling, and Ontario and Nova Scotia licence plates, everybody’s pretty excited about that. It’s the same in the south as well.”
“So I think we’re going we’re going to have a much better summer than we originally thought when we thought the borders wouldn’t open until September.”
Alderdice reckons it could take two or three years for the sector to recuperate from the pandemic, because of all the loans operators had to acquire.
“Destination Canada was saying if Canada has a good year, it could be 2023. And if they don’t, it could be as far as 2024 or 2025.”
However, the industry is resilient, she said, and “we’re starting to see that we’re going to be OK.”
Nearly 60% fully vaccinated
As of Tuesday morning, almost 60 percent of eligible New Brunswick locals are fully immunized against the virus, and an estimated 81 percent have received at least a dose of a vaccine, according to the COVID-19 dashboard.
Other 12,974 doses have been recorded as administered inclusive of 11,219-second doses. That raised the two-dose immunization rate to 59.7 percent from 58.1 percent on Monday, after it seemed to be a slow weekend.
On Monday, the Department of Health stated that information from vaccination clinics could take up to 48 hours to be released to Public Health and shown on the COVID-19 dashboard.
In an email, the department spokesperson, Shawn Berry said, “This has been the case since we started the [vaccination] campaign.”
It is uncertain as to whether all of those were vaccinated on Monday, or whether some were vaccinated over the weekend and were late in reporting.
The region’s goal under the path to green is to have 75 percent of New Brunswick locals aged 12 and older fully immunized by Aug. 2, New Brunswick Day.
Once the aim is attained, the province will terminate the state of emergency mandatory order and lift all Public Health limitations, as long as hospitalizations remain low, and all health zones remain at the yellow COVID alert phase.
Other 1,555 first doses have also been recorded as administered, raising the one-dose immunization rate to 80.7 percent from 80.4 percent.
“Thousands of first and second dose Pfizer and Moderna appointments have been opened for vaccinations through regional health authority clinics and participating pharmacies.” Public Health revealed in a Tuesday news release citing an increased supply.
Vaccination clinics are open daily this week with appointments accessible in each area, it said.
residents aged 12 and older who have yet to be vaccinated with two doses of vaccine are urged to book an appointment online via a Horizon or Vitalité health network clinic or a participating pharmacy.
Individuals are eligible for their second dose 28 days after their first. Public Health advised that if at the time of their first dose they were given an appointment with a longer interval, they could bump up their second dose by contacting the pharmacy or rescheduling online.
New Brunswick is also setting up more mobile walk-in clinics this week to assist in making the first and second doses more convenient. The clinics are offering the Moderna vaccine.
A clinic is ongoing on Tuesday in Clair at the Saint-Francois-d’Assise church, at 678 Rue Principale, between noon and 6 p.m.
The other clinics operating this week include:
- Village of Gagetown — Recreation Centre, 38 Mill Rd., on Wednesday, between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.
- Sainte-Anne-de-Madawaska — Municipal Hall, 75 Rue Prinicipale, on Wednesday, between noon and 6 p.m.
- Kedgwick — La Salle du Citoyen, 4 Saint-Jean St., on Thursday, between noon and 6 p.m.
- Southampton — Middle Southampton Community Hall, 1782 Campbell Settlement Rd., off Route 105, on Thursday, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- St. Martins — Four Seasons Complex, 2551 Route 111, on Friday, between noon and 5 p.m.
- Saint-Léonard — Ambulance New Brunswick station, 523 St-Jean St., Unit A, on Friday, between noon and 6 p.m.
Individuals are requested to bring their Medicare card, a signed consent form and, for those getting a second dose, a copy of the record of vaccination they got after receiving their first dose.
People who booked an appointment but were able to be immunized sooner elsewhere are urged to cancel the appointment they no longer need.
7 active cases
Public Health reported on Tuesday that New Brunswick has seven active cases of COVID-19.
No one is admitted in the hospital with the respiratory disease.
New Brunswick has reported 2,346 confirmed cases of the virus during the pandemic. So far, there have been 2,292 recoveries and 46 COVID-related deaths.
A sum of 374,318 tests have been conducted, including 747 on Monday.
Atlantic COVID roundup
Nova Scotia did not issue an update on Coronavirus cases on Tuesday and because of a scheduled upgrade to the region’s digital health information system, information from the COVID-19 dashboard was inaccessible. As of Monday, there were seven active cases.
Newfoundland and Labrador declared no fresh cases of the virus on Tuesday, and has zero active cases, according to the latest information from the Department of Health. This is despite 49 active cases aboard three ships, one anchored in Bay Bulls, and two anchored in Conception Bay.
Since July 13, P.E.I. has had no active cases.
What to do if you have a symptom
Individuals worried they might have the virus can take a self-assessment test online.
Public Health states symptoms of the virus have included a new or worsening cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, a fever above 38 C, difficulty breathing, and a new onset of fatigue.
In children, symptoms include purple markings on the fingers and toes.
Individuals with one of those symptoms should remain home, call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor, and follow instructions issued.