N.S. again changes rules New Brunswickers face when crossing border

·3 min read
Jessie Bazinet had to park his tractor trailer in Aulac, N.B., and walk across the border on Wednesday to get home because of the protest that halted traffic.  (Radio-Canada - image credit)
Jessie Bazinet had to park his tractor trailer in Aulac, N.B., and walk across the border on Wednesday to get home because of the protest that halted traffic. (Radio-Canada - image credit)

Nova Scotia's government is again changing the rules New Brunswickers face if they travel to Nova Scotia.

At a news conference in Halifax on Thursday afternoon, Premier Iain Rankin said isolation requirements for New Brunswickers suddenly imposed this week will be lifted when Nova Scotia opens to the rest of Canada on June 30 at 8 a.m.

Nova Scotia also ended a restriction for New Brunswickers that required them to self-isolate until receiving a negative COVID-19 test result, even if they've had two vaccine doses. However, 14 days must have passed since the second dose.

The announcement followed border protests that halted cross-border traffic, and confusion about the rules.

While traffic was once again flowing across the New Brunswick-Nova Scotia border on Thursday, people who live near it were still navigating the effects of new restrictions and protests over those rules.

Frustration 'boiled over'

The protest forced Jessie Bazinet, a truck driver who lives in Amherst, N.S., to park his truck in Aulac, N.B., and walk across the border so his wife could pick him up and take him home Wednesday. On Thursday morning, he was walking back into New Brunswick to return to his truck.

"I know a lot of drivers were pretty upset that the border was shut off like that," Bazinet told Radio-Canada.

Bazinet, who has family on both sides of the border, said Tuesday's announcement by Rankin of isolation requirements for New Brunswickers came as a surprise.

"I know these border restrictions have really affected residents close to the border, and I think things kind of just boiled over when Rankin said he wasn't going to do what he was originally go to do," Bazinet said.

Shane Magee/CBC
Shane Magee/CBC

Barbara and Jim Baird are in the process of moving from Sackville, N.B., to the Tatamagouche, N.S., area.

On Thursday they were trying to figure out whether they could get tested for COVID-19 in Sackville before crossing the border, or whether it would need to be done after they cross.

On Wednesday, they were scheduled to take a test in Amherst, but the border blockade made them miss the test.

"In the end, we just turned back," Barbara Baird said.

They're "disappointed it's such a difficult mess," she said.

"Disappointed the premiers can't act in a mature fashion and talk to each other," Jim Baird said. "It's very frustrating to be treated like a second class citizen because we're in New Brunswick. It's created a lot of animosity."

They hoped Nova Scotia's premier would relent and ease restrictions on New Brunswickers.

At the Aulac Big Stop, the last highway exit and gas station in New Brunswick on the Trans-Canada before the Nova Scotia border, Brandon Pineo and Bradley Gamble were stopped before crossing into Nova Scotia.

Pierre Fournier/CBC
Pierre Fournier/CBC

Pineo had moved from Sackville to Halifax in May but had left some belongings in New Brunswick. When the Atlantic bubble was expected to reopen June 23, they headed back to New Brunswick on June 22 to pick up Pineo's belongings and see family.

As they were driving, Nova Scotia announced the new restrictions on those who live in or have been in New Brunswick. The restrictions mean they'll have to self-isolate for seven days when they get back to Halifax since they've only had one vaccine dose.

Gamble said it was unfortunate for them and others they know who travelled to New Brunswick with the understanding they would be allowed back into Nova Scotia as of June 23 without issue.

"We could've just made different plans," Gamble said.

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