P.E.I. grocery store screening for COVID-19 because of nearby Magdalen Islands ferry

A grocery store in Souris, P.E.I., has introduced COVID-19 screening measures at its entrance because of its proximity to the Souris ferry terminal, which connects P.E.I. and the Magdalen Islands. The islands are part of the province of Quebec. 

MacPhee's Market recently hired a security guard to ask customers if they've been out of the province and if they're showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

On Saturday, the province introduced new screening measures at checkpoints located at the Confederation Bridge, the Charlottetown airport and the Souris ferry terminal. 

Provincial officials at the checkpoints are asking questions and directing anyone coming from out of province, including from within Canada, to self-isolate for 14 days.

Isabella Zavarise/CBC

Aiden O'Regan, manager at MacPhee's Market, said the store decided to introduce its own screening over the weekend because staff noticed people coming off the ferry and going into the store.

"Our management tried to screen it, but realistically we felt that we had to hire security personnel to do that job for us." 

O'Regan said the store gets considerable business from the Magdalen Islands because of the ferry bringing passengers to the town several times a week. 

Isabella Zavarise/CBC

'We will do their shopping for them'

O'Regan said the store is still willing to offer customers from the Magdalen Islands drop-off grocery service as an alternative.

"If they come to our door and we have to turn them away, we will do their shopping for them and we bring it to the car," he said.

"We appreciate them coming to the mainland, [we] just want everybody to be safe."

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"We wish all our Quebec friends safety," wrote the store's general manager Alan MacPhee in an email to CBC News.

"We are willing to deliver to the proximity of their cars, but safety of our staff is paramount under these circumstances and we simply cannot make exceptions to the provincial directive."

O'Regan said the store plans on keeping the security guard in place until further notice.

Passenger service ending

Canadian Coast Guard

On Wednesday night, Quebec decided to suspend passenger ferry service between Souris and the Magdalen Islands starting this Sunday, until further notice.

There will be two more crossings for passengers —Thursday and Saturday.

The CTMA ferry to Souris will still run after Sunday, but only carrying goods and supplies.

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.