'Today is an exciting day': P.E.I. announces reopening plan to begin June 6
HALIFAX -- Prince Edward Island announced the 'Moving Forward Plan’ to reopen the province during a news update on Thursday.
Dr. Heather Morrison, the province's chief public health officer, says the five-step plan is based on several principles, including the vaccine status of Island residents and visitors, COVID-19 testing for travellers at the point of entry, and self-isolation for travellers arriving to P.E.I.
"General public health measures, such as physical distancing and masking in certain situations, will continue to provide a solid foundation for the Moving Forward plan with the potential for easing many of these measures in the fall," continued Morrison.
“The Moving Forward Plan is built on the same principles we have followed since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Premier Dennis King. “It is a cautious, careful and measured approach. That recipe has been good for us to now, and will continue to be the one that guides us until the end.”
Morrison says the province's reopening plan will begin on June 6 with step one, which will see the following changes:
- Personal gatherings can have a maximum of 20 people, an increase of the current limit of a household plus 10.
- Funerals can have a maximum of 150 attendees, an increase of the current limit of 100. .
- Weddings can have a maximum of 150 attendees at both the ceremony, and reception, provided they are hosted by a recognized business or organization. Currently the maximum is at 100 attendees at a ceremony and 50 at a reception.
- Restaurants can increase their table size to 20 people and there are no restricted closing times.
Step two will take effect on June 27, and will see travel permitted from Atlantic Canada with no self-isolation for travellers with at least one dose of vaccine, and shortened self-isolation for unvaccinated travellers.
“People travelling from inside Atlantic Canada who are fully, or partially vaccinated, will be required to test, but will not need to self-isolate,” said Morrison. “This applies equally to Islanders who are leaving and coming back to P.E.I. from within the region, as well as visitors from Atlantic Canada.”
Step three will take effect on July 18, and will see further easing of P.E.I. public health measures to allow for larger gatherings.
Morrison said step three will include "some easing of non-medical mask requirements", with people no longer having to wear a mask in public places where physical distancing is enforced. Step three will also see another increase in gathering limits, with a maximum of 100 people indoors, and 200 people outdoors. Activities that require close contact, such as sports, will be limited to a single cohort of 100 per day, an increase from 50.
Step four will take effect on Aug. 8 and will see travel permitted from outside Atlantic Canada with no self-isolation for fully-vaccinated travellers, and shortened self-isolation for partially vaccinated travellers, with pre-travel approval for non-P.E.I. residents. This will also allow Island residents to travel outside of Atlantic Canada without being required to self-isolate upon return.
Step five will take effect on Sept. 12 and will see limited public health measures, including no personal or organized gathering limits, no pre-travel approval or travel streams for travellers within Canada, some isolation and testing measures for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travellers and no testing at points of entry or border screening. Morrison says international travel will depend on federal measures.
Morrison says the province has a target of 80 per cent of Islanders over 12 being fully vaccinated by September, and that currently 8.8 per cent of the population have received two doses of vaccine.
“There will be breakthrough cases of COVID-19 in people who are immunized, meaning the vaccine provides good protection, but is not 100 per cent,” said Morrison.
P.E.I. currently has 13 active cases of COVID-19. The province has had a total of 200 positive cases of the novel coronavirus since the pandemic began, and no deaths related to the virus.
COVID ALERT APP
Canada’s COVID-19 Alert app is available in Prince Edward Island.
The app, which can be downloaded through the Apple App Store or Google Play, notifies users if they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Prince Edward Island provides a list of possible COVID-19 symptoms on their website, which include:
- new or worsening cough
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- sore throat
- runny nose, sneezing, congestion
- muscle/joint/body aches
- feeling unwell/unusual tiredness
- acute loss of sense of smell or taste
Other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea have been reported, but typically along with other COVID-19 symptoms, and may be seen more often in children.
This is a developing story and will be updated.