Travel restrictions between Maritime provinces could remain in place for some time
SAINT JOHN -- As New Brunswick reported no new cases of COVID-19 for the sixth straight day, it also announced a loosening of public restrictions to allow some activities to begin again. However, it appears travel will be restricted for some time to come.
Travel restrictions have been in place between the Maritime provinces for about a month. These rules make personal and most business travel virtually impossible.
Gary Howard is the vice president of marketing and communications at CAA Atlantic. He says the restrictions are necessary, but at the same time, he predicts the months to come will see a growing desire to travel within Canada.
“People from Ontario and Quebec will be clamouring to get into the Maritimes and a lot of interprovincial travel between New Brunwick and P.E.I. and Nova Scotia. So we're hopeful it will be safe to do that,” says Howard.
New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have but a fraction of the number of COVID-19 cases that have been found in Nova Scotia.
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said Friday that there have been discussions with P.E.I. about potentially opening their common border.
“Could it be treated differently from what we see in other neighbouring provinces given the circumstances, yes it could,” says Higgs.
At this time, a target date has not been set for the re-opening of any borders within the Maritimes.
Manufacturers in the Maritimes say exports continue to move through the region and beyond.
“Things are running as best as can be expected under the circumstances,” says Ron Marcolin, divisional vice president at Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.
“The factories are working in the Maritimes and the materials are moving as they should. We need the commerce to move and the borders are a help because everything is moving seamlessly through the borders.”
As for the international border, the current travel restrictions will be in place until at least the end of May. Even if they re-open, Howard expects few will jump at the chance to head south.
“People are very hesitant right now and rightfully so, because there are a lot of unknowns south of the border,” says Howard.