Nova Scotia opens boundaries to Maritimes, with modified rules for New Brunswick
Protesters block traffic at Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border
By Keith Doucette
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is reopening its provincial boundaries on Wednesday to travellers from the Atlantic provinces but with modified rules for those coming from New Brunswick.
During a briefing Tuesday, Premier Iain Rankin said while travellers from New Brunswick will be allowed to enter for any reason, they will also be subject to isolation requirements based on their vaccination status and test results.
That decision follows New Brunswick’s announcement last week that it would reopen its boundaries to Canadian travellers without requiring them to self-isolate as long as they have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“Because New Brunswick opened up to the rest of the country, we are placing a modified restriction on anyone travelling in and out of that province,” Rankin told reporters. “Today, were are also announcing effective June 30, Nova Scotia will be opened to the rest of Canada with a modified isolation.”
Under the new border rules, New Brunswick travellers will have to complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in form and “be prepared” to show proof of vaccination to officials at the border, Rankin said. Proof of vaccination can also be uploaded to the check-in form.
People who have received their second dose of vaccine at least 14 days before their arrival in Nova Scotia will have to self-isolate until they receive a negative test, while those with one dose will have to isolate for at least seven days and will need two negative test results before they can leave quarantine.
Travellers with no vaccination will have to self-isolate for 14 days and be tested at the beginning and end of their quarantine period, and all tests must be standard PCR lab tests and can’t be rapid tests.
The rule for New Brunswickers will apply to all Canadian travellers except for people from Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador, who will no longer have to self-isolate or complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in form, regardless of vaccination status.
The announcement was slammed in a video posted to Facebook by Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin, the Tory member of the legislature for the Nova Scotia riding of Cumberland North, which neighbours New Brunswick. She accused Rankin of having a “vendetta or battle” with Higgs that would prevent families along the border from reuniting.
“It’s not acceptable and we’ve had enough,” she said. Smith-McCrossin threatened that the Trans-Canada Highway would be shut down in protest unless the premier changed his mind.
Late Tuesday, the RCMP said in a news release that the highway was closed in both directions at Exit 7 near Thomson Station “due to a protest of recent COVID-19 border restrictions.”
Police said traffic was being diverted onto Highway 4. “The RCMP is asking the public to avoid unnecessary travel and to use caution driving in the area,” the release said.
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, said earlier his province’s measures should not have come as a surprise after he and the premier voiced their concerns last week about New Brunswick’s reopening plan.
Strang said that with growing concerns about the emergence of the Delta variant across Canada, he’s confident the border measures are the right move because as things stand, not enough people are fully vaccinated in Nova Scotia. ”We are focused on having the right levels of protection for Nova Scotia,” he said. “We have been talking about this for the last two weeks.”
Strang said the restrictions for New Brunswick travellers would likely be reassessed next week. “We are going to watch the epidemiology of New Brunswick very carefully. We need to watch that for at least another week ? then we’ll see.”
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs offered a diplomatic tone on Tuesday about Nova Scotia’s travel rules.
“It is up to other provinces to decide what steps they feel are necessary within their own borders,” Higgs said in a statement. “We feel confident in the steps we have taken to open our province up to Atlantic Canada and the rest of the country, so they are able to come and explore New Brunswick and reunite with their families and friends.”
Nova Scotia reported two new COVID-19-related deaths and two new infections on Tuesday. The province has 74 active reported cases of COVID-19 and two people in hospital with the disease.
In New Brunswick, health officials reported one new travel-related case of novel coronavirus and 49 active cases.
One new case was reported Tuesday in Newfoundland and Labrador. The province currently has 13 active reported cases.
With files by Kevin Bissett in Fredericton