'Counting down the days': Halifax woman looking forward to Atlantic travel bubble
Wendy Thompson says she can't wait for her newborn to meet her family in P.E.I.
Nova Scotians had mixed reactions to Wednesday's news that the province will be opening to an Atlantic travel bubble effective July 3.
The bubble will allow residents of the four Atlantic provinces to travel in Atlantic Canada without self-isolating when they enter another province. Travel restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 have been in place since March.
Wendy Thompson of Halifax said the Atlantic bubble couldn't have come soon enough.
Thompson's two-month old daughter, Willow, has yet to meet her grandmother who lives in Summerside, P.E.I.
"My mom is very excited," Thompson said. "She's been counting down the days. I think if there wasn't an announcement soon it would have been pretty upsetting for her."
Thompson said she's already booked an Airbnb for July 6 and is excited to see her family for the first time in months.
Eileen Carroll in Sydney, N.S., said she's not on board with opening the Atlantic region.
"I'm afraid of people coming from other places and then spreading it here and we have been doing really good here," Carroll said.
Quebec and Ontario are continuing to announce significant numbers of COVID-19 cases daily, while the four Atlantic provinces have reduced their total active cases to 20 — all of which are contained in the Campbellton region of New Brunswick.
Carol Ranni, who is from Sydney, said she hopes people will still follow rules and physically distance when they go to other provinces.
"I'm OK with it as long as it's within the Atlantic provinces. Opening it any further, I wouldn't be happy about it," Ranni said.
Tourism back in business
John Campbell, the owner of the Sou'wester gift shop and restaurant near Peggys Cove, said now that an Atlantic bubble has been announced, his season can be salvaged.
"It'll help us for sure. It will help increase the traffic for this summer and give us a better chance to increase our revenues," Campbell said. "We won't be back to normal, but everything helps and this will certainly help."
In April, Tourism Nova Scotia said the industry was bracing itself for a loss of at least $1 billion in 2020.
Only a few weeks ago, Campbell wasn't sure if he could save the restaurant season, but now he's feeling positive.
"We're really close to being able to make it to next summer, so I think I'm going to be OK," he said.
Campbell said he expects about 20 to 30 per cent of his revenue to come from outside of Nova Scotia once the borders are reopened.
He said he believes there's little risk associated with opening the Atlantic borders because there have been few cases in the region.
"Outside of that, then I think you have to reassess it, but the reward will be much greater with the Atlantic Canada provinces and the risk is way, way lower," Campbell said.
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said he is still considering opening Nova Scotia up to the rest of Canada by late July, depending on how the Atlantic bubble goes and the number of COVID-19 cases in other provinces.
He said if an outbreak is caused by the bubble, the Atlantic provinces are prepared to take swift action.
"If we see alarming trends and spikes with our public health, we will then make decisions to either isolate that particular outbreak within our respective provinces or quite frankly, to isolate a province from the activity of moving about."
With files from Kayla Hounsell, Tom Murphy, Brent Kelloway