Some Atlantic Canadians and fully vaccinated Canadians from other regions will be able to come to P.E.I. for holidays or family visits a little sooner than anticipated this summer.
P.E.I. announced a five-stage reopening plan at the end of May, but said it would be flexible. With more vaccines coming to the province in June than anticipated at that time, Premier Dennis King announced some changes at a briefing Tuesday morning.
Atlantic Canadians with at least one dose of vaccine will be able to visit P.E.I. — Step 2 in the plan — a little earlier than the original June 27 date, on June 23.
This will apply only for people applying under current streams of travel, but they will be able to visit the Island without self-isolating.
The province will still open for other visitors starting June 27, but travellers, including Islanders, must apply for a P.E.I. Pass, which they may get with proof of residency and first vaccination dose.
The P.E.I. Pass will also allow visitors from the rest of Canada as early as July 28. Fully vaccinated people will be exempt from self-isolation, and visitors with one dose will have a modified self-isolation plan.
For those who do need to self-isolate, starting on Thursday the self-isolation time for domestic travellers will be reduced to eight days, pending a negative test on the eighth day.
King also announced the Magdalen Islands would be added to jurisdictions with an open border as of June 27. He said Tourism PEI would be creating a marketing campaign to attract residents of the islands.
The changes are being made possible by the rate at which Islanders are rolling up their sleeves for vaccines, said King, and by increased deliveries of vaccine.
"Vaccines are key to our reopening plan as we need to ensure that Islanders are protected," he said.
"Things are moving in the right direction and that gives us confidence."
Currently 71 per cent of eligible Islanders are vaccinated with at least one dose, said King. The province has set a target of 80 per cent before opening to Atlantic Canada.
Still no bubble
King said he has been speaking with other premiers in Atlantic Canada to try to find agreement on a common date for reopening borders, but those talks were not successful.
New Brunswick is planning to open to Islanders once 75 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers are vaccinated, which will likely happen this week. Nova Scotia had been talking about the end of the month, but at about the same time King was talking, both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador announced they would open to Atlantic Canadians on June 23.
There are currently no active cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I., King said, and he credited Islanders for their diligence in heeding public health guidelines.
This is the first time there have been no active cases since Nov. 5.
COVID-19 cases on P.E.I.
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