PEI

COVID-19 pandemic essential information for P.E.I.

Up-to-date, key information on travel, health and financial assistance.

Health, financial and education information

Sports with larger groups is allowed in Phase 4. (John Robertson/CBC)

This is the guide for Prince Edward Islanders on getting help and staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phase 4 easing of restrictions

Starting June 26, P.E.I. further relaxed the pandemic restrictions that were in place. Physical distancing guidelines must still be practised.

As in Phase 3, households can gather with up to 20 other people outside and 15 inside.

In addition, public gatherings of as many 100 — two separate gatherings of 50 people — are allowed with an operational plan in place. For sports, gathering numbers include participants, spectators and volunteers. It does not include someone watching from inside a vehicle.

Long-term care facilities will begin allowing visiting indoors.

Casinos have reopened, and more personal services are allowed to be offered. As of July 17, movie theatres were also being allowed to operate, with restrictions in place. 

A quick overview of Phase 4 changes is available here, and a complete list is available on the province's website.

Physical distancing basics

  • Understand the difference between physical distancing and self-isolation or quarantine.
  • Keep a minimum two-metre distance when interacting with someone from another household.
  • Video chat, text messaging, and telephone remain good options for socializing.
  • When out in public, try to maintain a two-metre distance from others. Singers, or others practising "vigorous vocalization," should stay 3.5 metres apart.
  • Essential shopping should be done by one person.
  • P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison strongly recommends wearing a non-medical mask in indoor public spaces where physical distancing is not possible, though wearing a mask is not mandatory.

Financial relief

The P.E.I. government has created a $40 million emergency contingency fund for Island families, workers and businesses struggling financially because of COVID-19.

Support programs include, for individuals:

  • Income support program for workers laid off due to the pandemic. A one-time payment of $750.
  • Income relief for the self-employed.
  • Worker assistance program for people whose hours have been reduced.
  • A bursary for students working in the seafood sector: $1,000 for high school students and $2,000 for university students.
  • A $95,000 fund to be distributed through student unions in the province.
  • A $75,000 research fund for the UPEI Student Union.
  • Grocery store gift cards for laid-off workers.

For businesses:

  • Commercial rent deferral.
  • Funding to hire a consultant to help adapt your business.
  • Working capital loans for small business.
  • A special situation fund covering income losses for both businesses and organizations.

The province is offering special support for the tourism industry.

  • Loans of up to $1 million at four per cent interest.
  • Interest relief on loans with banks, credit unions, or Finance PEI.
  • Waiving fees for licensing, inspections, and advertising.

You can find a list of these programs with application forms here.

Other measures to protect Islanders facing financial difficulties include

  • The province has provided funding for daycare centres so families will not have to pay fees while the centres are closed.
  • The province provided $500,000 in relief to charitable organizations, including the United Way, food banks, and the Salvation Army.
  • The Charlottetown water and sewer utility is offering options for flexible payments.

You can find federal support programs for individuals and businesses here.

Health

If you feel you need to be tested for COVID-19, call 811. You will be assessed and provided with an appointment if it is warranted. Before you call 811, try the province's online self-assessment tool.

Dental offices reopened for emergency services June 1, and regular practice with precautions June 12.

Health PEI began the week of April 6 to set up more virtual care appointments, but is gradually adding back more in-person appointments, noting hours may be different than people are used to.

Mental health and addictions support has moved away from in-person appointments, but that has now resumed.

The P.E.I. government has created an Islanders Helping Islanders volunteer directory on its website for anyone looking for help during the pandemic. 

Blood donation is still needed in the COVID-19 pandemic. Canadian Blood Services' location at 85 Fitzroy St. in Charlottetown has the goal of collecting 32 units a day.

If you have general concerns about COVID-19, you can call the provincial information line at 1-800-958-6400.

Education

Island schools remain closed for general education, but teachers are allowed to meet with students.

Daycares open with limits on the number of children allowed.

Summer semesters at UPEI are being offered online.

Holland College continues to offer courses online.

P.E.I. and Canada Student Loan repayments have been suspended for six months. 

Travel

As of July 2, residents from P.E.I., New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador were allowed to travel without having to isolate after arrival in a different Atlantic province. This is known as the Atlantic bubble. 

Drivers from Quebec were permitted to travel through New Brunswick and P.E.I. if they could prove they had a ferry booking to travel on to the Magdalen Islands. This was the result of a June 26 agreement reached among the three provinces. 

Seasonal residents from outside the Atlantic region may apply to come to P.E.I. but must isolate for two weeks after arrival.

Other non-essential travel into P.E.I. from outside the Atlantic region is currently prohibited.

Exceptions include:

  • Travel for medical appointments.
  • Travel by essential workers.
  • Students returning home.

Checkpoints on both ends of Confederation Bridge are asking about reasons for travel. Non-essential travellers from outside the Atlantic region are being turned away.

Non-essential travellers arriving at the Charlottetown Airport from outside the Atlantic region are being isolated on arrival, and sent back on the next available flight.

Northumberland Ferries Ltd. is operating its ferry service between Wood Islands, P.E.I., and Caribou, N.S., with 50 per cent capacity on six round trips each day.

Individuals travelling to P.E.I. from outside the Atlantic region are being advised to contact officials in advance by email or by calling 902-894-0385.

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.
  • Practise physical distancing.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More COVID-19 stories from CBC P.E.I.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now