Things are complicated at the N.S.-N.B. border because of varying pandemic restrictions
FORT LAWRENCE, N.S. -- It's been a while since people have been able to travel between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick under the same set of COVID-19 rules.
New Brunswick's decision to open its borders to the whole country will keep it that way until next Wednesday and people who've been living through ever-changing rules wish they didn't have to wait.
"He can come here and go back; but I can't go there and come back," said Sharon Hachey.
That's the situation in which Bathurst residents Ian MacLean and Sharon Hachey find themselves.
Parked at the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border for a mid-highway swap as she tries to get to Halifax to catch a work flight to Alberta.
A friend from Nova Scotia is en route, to take her the rest of the way.
"Because of the way the border now is, I can't drive into Nova Scotia and then back to my home province of New Brunswick, but her friend he's coming here to get her because he can drive back into Nova Scotia," said MacLean.
Said Hachey: "But this is hope, I have friends in Nova Scotia that haven't been able to see their family, so I'm happy for them."
It's the kind of situation so many residents on both sides have found themselves in; able to cross one way without self-isolation requirements, but not the other.
While New Brunswick opened its border to travellers at midnight Wednesday, Nova Scotia won't be doing the same, until next Wednesday.
Today, travellers crossing into Nova Scotia are still stopped at the border to make sure they're following isolation protocols.
"It shows that unless both provinces are willing to open up access from either side, nothing really changes," said Dr. David Kogan.
Like many people, Kogan works in New Brunswick, but lives in Amherst and is town mayor. He's anxious for the day when he won't need his essential worker pass to return from work to home.
"It's been particularly challenging for a lot of people, especially when their loved ones are so close yet so far," said Kogan.
And in a community where 40 per cent of retail revenue comes from New Brunswick, it's not only personal, it's a matter of the economy.
"When was the last time either premier actually came to the border," said Stephen Emmerson, the president of Emerson Packaging, Amherst's largest employer, which has 400 workers from both sides of the border. He says political leaders should have done a better job of coordinating border travel.
"Everything that's going on with COVID has just created stress and anxiety for everybody and then when you layer that on top of it it's just one more thing people unfortunately have had to deal with for over a year now," Emmerson said.
The hope is that once travel restrictions are lifted between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, it will stay that way, but that will depend on vaccinations and their effectiveness against COVID-19 variants.
"To see this come to an end, everybody is extremely optimistic," said Kogan.