Border restrictions cause mixed emotions on Atlantic bubble opening day
SYDNEY, N.S. -- For a good many Maritimers, the latest restrictions on travel at the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border affect them on a personal level.
Stephanie Myles and her family live in the Sydney area – roughly five hours away from the provincial border – but the impact of the rule changes hits close to home.
"Well, I am over 40 weeks pregnant – almost 41 weeks pregnant – and my parents live in New Brunswick," the expectant mother told CTV Atlantic.
With their second child due to arrive any day now, the plan was for Myles' parents to arrive from Nackawic, N.B., to be there for the birth and help out. And the timing was going to be perfect.
"I was really excited when I found out that my parents would be able to come on June 23," Myles says. "And I tell you, my mom had the car packed as soon as she found out last week."
Now, the way the rules have changed at the provincial border has made it uncertain whether her parents can make the trip to Cape Breton.
"This has added a lot of unnecessary stress, and that is what is so frustrating," Myles says.
On the other side of the border, in Dieppe, N.B., Peter Henry and his wife Shirley were hoping to travel to Amherst, N.S., to witness their only grandson's high school graduation. The couple says they have each received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
"It went from anger to frustration to unbelievable," Peter Henry says in describing his emotions when he learned of the changes to restrictions and isolation rules. "We'd have to go there a week ahead of time for a two-hour graduation. It's our grandson's Grade 12 graduation. It's a once in a lifetime thing."
Wednesday's date had been circled on the calendar for many since plans for the Atlantic Bubble were announced earlier this month. With COVID-19 cases going down, it was expected to be another milestone towards the Maritimes opening up. But when opening day arrived, there were many who didn't feel like celebrating.
"I know things change, and admissions can change in a heartbeat," Peter Henry says. "But this to me, it's just utterly ridiculous."
There are Maritimers who see the issue differently. Stephanie Myles says she knows provincial governments have tough decisions to make during the pandemic, and that they can't please everyone. She says it's the timing – and lack of notice – that frustrates her.
"At this point in the pandemic, I do expect more. I will say that," Myles says. "It's not March of 2020 anymore. It added a lot of stress to our family, and I'm sure it added a lot of stress to other families too."