Thousands expected on P.E.I. this weekend as Atlantic bubble opens
‘I’m especially excited to see my Mom,’ says one traveller eager to reconnect
The P.E.I. government has distributed thousands of travel declaration forms to Atlantic Canadians who intend to arrive on the Island Friday and Saturday.
At 12:01 a.m. pandemic restrictions were lifted for Atlantic Canadians, allowing movement between the four provinces without a two-week quarantine.
But each province still has checkpoints at the border with its own rules for entry. For P.E.I., travellers are being told to fill out a declaration form in advance, which provides evidence of their residency in Atlantic Canada and asks health questions.
As of late Friday morning, the province had distributed 5,200 forms for arrivals on Friday and Saturday.
P.E.I. public safety officials said there was a burst of activity on Confederation Bridge right after midnight, with 300 to 400 vehicles crossing in the first 90 minutes.
There was a second burst of activity at first light, and at one point 30 to 40 vehicles were lined up at the toll booth to leave P.E.I.
Despite the checkpoint and the traffic, officials said the wait was only a couple of minutes.
Here is <a href="https://twitter.com/BrianHigginsCBC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BrianHigginsCBC</a> with an update on this morning’s experience at the Confederation Bridge! <a href="https://t.co/kpyHQbNKMm">pic.twitter.com/kpyHQbNKMm</a>—@CBCPEI
There was a long line of traffic waiting to clear the checkpoint on the New Brunswick end of Confederation Bridge.
Rose Cooper of Wheatley River was one of those drivers heading off-Island, on her way to Miramichi.
"We're going home to visit our family. We haven't seen them for a long time," said Cooper.
"I'm especially excited to see my Mom. She's 87. It's going to be good to reconnect."
Eli Hughes has been working in Kentville, N.S., and was on his way to St. Peters, P.E.I.
"I'm just happy to be back at home," said Hughes.
"Glad to be home with my family."
A truckload of gift bags including potato chips was standing on the P.E.I. side, to be distributed to the people arriving. P.E.I. Premier Dennis King was on the bridge for part of the morning greeting visitors.
Best thing to wake up to is your mom ringing your doorbell at 7 am after not seeing her for four months 😭 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AtlanticBubble?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AtlanticBubble</a> <a href="https://t.co/TcBovzFU3g">pic.twitter.com/TcBovzFU3g</a>—@MsLindss
Public safety officials expected this would be a learning day about how to manage the traffic.
More from CBC P.E.I.
With files from Brian Higgins