People in rural N.S. reticent about making a trip to Halifax as COVID-19 cases rise
SYDNEY, N.S. -- The COVID-19 outbreaks in the Maritimes' larger urban centres have people in smaller and more rural parts of the region reconsidering their travel plans.
But, even as they take precautions, there is a feeling the novel coronavirus can only be kept out for so long.
"Well, I can tell you without question, that the folks here are very nervous about that," said Pam Mood, the mayor of Yarmouth.
She says she's heard from people in her community who have decided not to travel to Halifax for the next while.
"We have no cases here and we'd love to keep it that way, and we know how quickly this can spread. So the community's on board with, 'Just let's stay home,'" Mood said.
It's a similar story in McAdam, N.B., where the village's mayor says people are still holding out hope that COVID-19 will stay away.
"People are really starting to take a second look. Saying, 'Maybe we shouldn't be having that gathering. Maybe we shouldn't be going into Fredericton,'" said Ken Stannix. "We're a little nervous, but I think most people are hoping that we will remain case-free here. But of course, this disease it, it doesn't care."
On the top of Cape Bretoners' minds is whether the virus will spread to the island.
That seems to be the question on social media these days.
At a yoga studio in North Sydney, N.S., they're asking anyone who has travelled to the Halifax region not to attend classes for 14 days.
Others are already changing their household habits.
Graham MacKenzie is a pharmacist in Baddeck, N.S. He says while there have been no confirmed cases for months in rural communities along the Cabot Trail, some feel it's only a matter of time.
"In rural areas, most people understand that it could happen anywhere," MacKenzie said. "It could happen in a far-off spot in Cape Breton, or it could happen in downtown Halifax."
On Monday, the Council of Atlantic Premiers issued a news release recommending caution when it comes to non-essential travel within the Atlantic provinces and said they'll be monitoring this closely over the next two weeks.
"If we have to lock down, we have to lock down," Mood said.