Dennis King, P.E.I. Premier, says the disruption at the border between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia is “troubling and very unfortunate” and he has hopes for a quick resolution.
Traffic has been obstructed and backed up on the Trans-Canada Highway from Wednesday as people object to border restrictions needing travelers from New Brunswick to quarantine upon arrival in Nova Scotia.
On Wednesday afternoon, the P.E.I. Premier and the other Atlantic premiers talked through the blockade at in meeting.
“It was a very interesting call to say the least, one of the more interesting ones we’ve had as an Atlantic region,” he stated in an interview with CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin.
“A lot really to talk about in terms of the blockade at the highways and whether or not there’s a possible resolution to get to an Atlantic bubble as a region.”
King observed it has been challenging for the Atlantic provinces to synchronize their reopening dates and quarantine requirements. On Wednesday, due to New Brunswick reopening its borders to the rest of country, the province was not included when Nova Scotia reopened its borders to the rest of the Atlantic provinces.
P.E.I. started accepting fully or partially- vaccinated individuals from within Atlantic Canada with pre-travel permissions on Wednesday.
It is planned to reopen to the other Atlantic provinces on Sunday. Nova Scotia intends to open to the rest of the country on June 30. P.E.I. is only opening to fully vaccinated individuals from outside Atlantic Canada from July 28 and they are liable to COVID-19 testing.
“There isn’t a total alignment on the timing around this by jurisdiction in the region and that has made it challenging to say the least,” King stated. “If we could get to a regional approach to make it easier for all Atlantic Canadians, that’s the ideal sweet spot for us. I haven’t given up on that yet but it has been much more challenging this year than it has been last year.”
However, the more critical problem is resolving the controversy at the N.S.-N.B. border, he noted.
“Anytime you see a disruption like that to one of our major markets, you measure the impact in millions and that’s essentially what has happened here today.… This is a big deal for us and we need it to come to a peaceful resolution as quickly as possible.”
Nova Scotia emergency management officers recommend anyone intending to travel to Prince Edward Island or New Brunswick on Wednesday to remain home.
They also stated there is inadequate room in Amherst to leave transport trucks or any other vehicles.
Individuals with the desire to travel between Nova Scotia and P.E.I. are advised to take the Wood Islands ferry.
Tourism industry hoping for a standard policy
The executive director of the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I., Corryn Clemence, claimed operators are attempting to make out how Nova’s Scotia’s recurrent travel restrictions for people from New Brunswick will affect tourism on the Island.
She observed it’s possible P.E.I. could benefit if more individuals from New Brunswick choose to come to the Island. However, she hopes there will be one standard policy for the Atlantic area in the end.
“At the end of the day, we’re really hoping for that consistency between all of our provinces. I think we’ll get there. This adds another layer of confusion for Atlantic Canadians looking to travel. At the same time, you know, I think these premiers are making the decisions based on their health capacities and their individual provinces. So, it’s difficult to get that alignment. But we’re hoping that we can get there soon.”
King stated he has hopes that there will fewer disruptions at the P.E.I. border when it reopens for Atlantic Canadian travelers on Sunday.
“I think we’ve been very very consistent from the very beginning and continue to be so I feel we’re in a good place here, but really in this day and age you have to be prepared for everything.”