Borden-Carleton ready for Atlantic bubble to reopen
'We're just super excited to get things up and running'
Islanders are making plans for the reopening of the Atlantic bubble by April 19, especially those in Borden-Carleton at the base of the Confederation Bridge to New Brunswick.
Thursday, the Atlantic premiers announced they plan to loosen restrictions among their four provinces put in place last year due to the pandemic. They said travel without the need to self-isolate will resume by April 19 as long as cases of COVID-19 remain under control and outbreaks are contained.
"We saw first-hand last year the positive impact that the Atlantic bubble had on, not just our business, but the community of Gateway Village in general and all of P.E.I.," said Jared Murphy, the co-owner of Lone Oak Brewing in Borden-Carleton.
Lone Oak has become a year-round anchor tenant at Gateway Village, the cluster of shops that greet visitors to P.E.I. as they arrive from the mainland. But it opened mere weeks before the pandemic was declared in March 2020, and even though local support has been strong, craft brewers have struggled.
This winter, travel restrictions made the village even quieter than usual.
"Seeing that positive impact last year, we're just super excited to get things up and running, get things reopened for the summer again here."
The brewery has already begun hiring more staff.
'Gives us a little hope'
Residents are ready to welcome all comers.
"I think it's great. I think it's been a long time coming — and just in time for spring and summer," said local Katie Adams. "I think it gives us a little hope with the last year going on, and up here in Borden I think it's going to be great for the town."
Borden-Carleton is also something of an industrial hub. Town officials hope reopening the bubble will boost industry too.
The community is home to more than 1,000 jobs, but there's a shortage of workers, town officials said, and opening up travel to the mainland might help.
"Borden-Carleton and P.E.I. have a limited availability of employees and now at least, throughout the Atlantic provinces, people will be able to work here more [easily]," said Jim Wentzell, Borden-Carleton's chief administrative officer.
He said the town wants to begin new housing construction this summer too, and hopes the bubble brings a better supply of goods and services and lower prices.
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With files from Brian Higgins