N.B. not planning entry checkpoint for P.E.I. residents when bubble reopens

·2 min read
Lineups were occasionally long for people leaving P.E.I. and waiting to be screened before being allowed into New Brunswick in the summer and fall of 2020. This photo shows traffic on the Saturday morning of Labour Day weekend, when drivers waited up to an hour.  (Carolyn Ryan/CBC - image credit)
Lineups were occasionally long for people leaving P.E.I. and waiting to be screened before being allowed into New Brunswick in the summer and fall of 2020. This photo shows traffic on the Saturday morning of Labour Day weekend, when drivers waited up to an hour. (Carolyn Ryan/CBC - image credit)

P.E.I. drivers heading into New Brunswick when the Atlantic bubble opens won't face a checkpoint screening process on the far side of Confederation Bridge, a spokesperson for New Brunswick's Justice and Public Safety Department said Wednesday.

"There is no plan to reinstate border controls between New Brunswick and P.E.I.," spokesperson Coreen Enos said in an email to CBC News.

The bridge linking Prince Edward Island to the mainland at Cape Jourimain was closed to all but essential traffic during the early months of the COVID-19 crisis last year.

On the first weekend in July, in light of a low case count in the Atlantic region, residents of the four easternmost provinces of Canada were allowed to travel freely without isolating for two weeks in what was dubbed "the Atlantic bubble."

A driver undergoes screening on the P.E.I. side of Confederation Bridge in June 2020.
A driver undergoes screening on the P.E.I. side of Confederation Bridge in June 2020. (CBC)

Yet Islanders entering New Brunswick — and New Brunswickers returning home from the Island — were required to answer COVID-19 screening questions at a checkpoint just off the bridge's southern end, and lineups could be long.

The email from Enos continued: "Travellers have to register now. No decision has been made as to when that requirement will be eliminated."

No decision yet on N.B.-N.S. border

Enos did not address what New Brunswick is planning with regard to its borders with Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin surprised many two weeks ago when he said his province would reopen its border to New Brunswickers before the bubble reopened, which Atlantic premiers have said would occur by April 19 unless there is a spike in COVID-19 case counts.

Rankin's decision meant that as of March 20, New Brunswickers did not have to isolate when entering Nova Scotia.

Isolation requirements remain in place for people heading west into New Brunswick at the border near Amherst.

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