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Crossing borders correctly when 'Atlantic bubble' begins
HALIFAX -- On Friday, Maritime residents will be able to travel within the 'Atlantic bubble' to all four provinces in Atlantic Canada, without having to self isolate for 14 days. However, with protocol varying at each border, some Maritimers aren't sure what to expect when entering another province.
New Brunswick's Department of Public Safety has recently beefed up its staffing at entry points into the province.
"In anticipation of the bubble, we have staffed up a little bit there to try and minimize the delay for folks," says New Brunswick Department of Public Safety Deputy Minister Mike Comeau.
Maritimers heading to Prince Edward Island will be required to fill out a self-declaration form – available online on Thursday – and present a copy at the province's entry points.
"I'll probably make a few trips to the island," says Sackville, N.B., resident, Bruce Phinney. "I have some friends over there, and I have family in Amherst, so I imagine I'll take a few trips over there too."
Public health and proof of residency screenings will be performed at entry points to all Atlantic Canadian provinces.
"To simply confirm residency in one of the Atlantic provinces, ask about travel outside the Atlantic region in the previous 14 days," says Comeau of the reasoning for the screenings. "Then move people along as quickly as possible."
The town of Sackville, N.B., a popular pit stop to and from P.E.I and Nova Scotia, is anxiously awaiting the extra flow of traffic into town.
"We do have a bit of a transit stop here," says Sackville Mayor John Higham. "We have a variety of retail, and our downtown is really a retail-touristy activity – so they've been hurting."
While many visitors will soon cross borders for the first time in months, questions remain concerning how the entrance process will work.
"You don't know what you're going to run into at the border," says Sackville resident Deborah Melanson. "It's all up in the air – you just don't know what to expect."
Others say they'll take their chances when it comes to interprovincial travel.
"I'm just gonna take a chance of just going there," says Phinney. "I'll probably be informed when I get there as to what I can and cannot do."
Meanwhile, prospective travellers are encouraged by officials from all Atlantic provinces to prepare in advance with proper documentation – and to expect delays at borders.