New Brunswick ends inner-Atlantic bubble checkstops
Resources will be redeployed to N.B. borders with Quebec, U.S.
Travellers from Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island no longer have to check in with provincial authorities at the New Brunswick border.
Early on in the pandemic traffic between the three provinces largely stopped except for essential services.
But in early July, the region created the Atlantic bubble, allowing traffic to flow relatively freely among the four Atlantic provinces.
Freely, but not quickly, as guards at the New Brunswick border still checked traffic and collected information from drivers as they went through.
This caused long lineups, headaches and financial concerns, according to David Kogon, the mayor of Amherst, N.S., just over the border.
"We have people that work in one community and live in the other," said Kogon.
"Some were quitting their jobs because they were getting a one- or two-hour delay at the end of each shift."
Some travellers questioned why the province bothered with the checkpoints, since border officials would let people through without stopping them at all when the lines got too long.
Premier Blaine Higgs announced last week that the checkpoints would end Thursday, saying that border resources would be redeployed to New Brunswick's Quebec and U.S. borders. Travel from outside the Atlantic bubble has been the main factor in cases of COVID-19 turning up in New Brunswick.
"Our biggest success has been related to border protection and … in our situation, 95 per cent of all cases are related to travellers," Higgs said on Oct. 2, before the Moncton outbreak.
"And so the point is, that's where we're putting our efforts and it's travellers coming outside of the Atlantic."
With files from Tori Weldon