Officials to discuss lifting more public health restrictions

HALIFAX: Nova Scotia will now open to other Atlantic Canadian provinces.

On June 24, the Council of Atlantic Premiers announced travel restrictions in Atlantic Canada will be eased. Interprovincial travel within Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador – without the requirement to self-isolate for Atlantic Canadian residents – will be permitted beginning July 3.

“This is exciting news for Nova Scotia families, and quite frankly for Atlantic Canadian families, who have been missing loved ones, who are living in other provinces, or unable to travel to their respective cottages or properties,” Premier Stephen McNeil said during a press conference in Halifax.

All public health directives in effect in each province must be adhered to, including not traveling with any symptoms of COVID-19 and practicing physical distancing and good hand hygiene. Each province will choose its own processes to track and monitor travelers.

Visitors from other Canadian provinces and territories must adhere to local entry requirements in each of the four jurisdictions. Other Canadian visitors to the Maritime provinces who have self-isolated for 14 days can travel within the Maritimes.

The premier said Atlantic Canadian provinces have flattened the curve, and after lifting public health measures in Nova Scotia over the past few weeks, this was the next logical step.

“The next natural phase to that was to eliminate the barriers within Atlantic Canada,” the premier said. “I’m pleased the premiers were all able to come together with our respective governments and public health officials to open up.

“Now is the time, considering with the number of new cases that we’ve seen in the province, there’s been very few, and in the region very few, that now’s the time to open it up.”

Because the state of emergency remains in effect and the province’s borders will remain partially closed after July 3, McNeil said anyone entering Nova Scotia will still have to provide identification like a driver’s license or health card.

“We will still have the picket information issues there,” the premier explained. “Bearing in mind, you can currently drive through New Brunswick from Quebec, Ontario, or the rest of the country, and come in to Nova Scotia. We have to make sure that those people coming in recognize that they still have to self-isolate for 14 days.”

The premier added over the coming days and weeks, provincial officials will be discussing the lifting of more public health measures in Nova Scotia, and reassessing rules around the use of face masks in public.

“I think it’s not too much to ask of me or the rest of us, that perhaps we should be wearing that mask when we’re out, particularly when we go to a confined space like a restaurant, bank, coffee shop,” McNeil said. “Those are the kinds of things we’re going to focus on as we go into the fall.”