COVID-19 on P.E.I.: What's happening on Tuesday, March 17

More businesses close across P.E.I., and government announces financial aid to province's most vulnerable.

Report closures on our cancellation hotline at 1-877-236-9350

The Charlottetown Mall and other shopping centres were asked to close Wednesday to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Brian McInnis/CBC)

Dr. Heather Morrison announced Tuesday that many businesses will be closed across the province as well as "non-essential government services."

Until further notice, dental clinics, bars, theatres and in-room dining at restaurants will close. Wakes and funerals will be for family only with a maximum of 20 people. Non-essential government services are also closed.

Early Tuesday evening, King and ministers Ernie Hudson, Matthew MacKay and Steven Myers detailed some initial funds and financial supports to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hudson said $500,000 will be available to Islanders who may be financially vulnerable, including:

  • $250,000 for United Way.
  • $100,000 to the provincial food bank.
  • $100,000 to the Salvation Army for home heating.
  • $50,000 for non-government organizations that support Islanders.

MacKay announced $500 each week for self-employed Islanders, delivered through Innovation P.E.I. starting with cheques in the next two weeks, and what the province is calling emergency working capital financing to loan small businesses up to $100,000 at a fixed interest rate of four per cent.

The P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture said it is concerned about the closure of Canada's borders to foreign nationals. Temporary foreign workers are needed to help plant crops.

Under the state of emergency, Islanders are being asked to work from home and stay at home whenever possible. 

  • A full list of COVID-19 cancellations can be viewed here. You can report closures on our cancellation hotline at 1-877-236-9350.

Today's top stories

  • Dental clinics, bars, theatres and in-room dining at restaurants are closed until further notice, Dr. Heather Morrison said Tuesday at a media briefing.
  • For wakes, visiting hours only are permitted with fewer than 20 people and funeral services need to be postponed or delayed. Morrison encouraged Islanders to instead send donations and condolences online.
  • Non-essential government services are also closed.
  • The city's bus system, T3 Transit, will continue to operate but will be reduced to seating room only, with no standing allowed, to allow social distancing among passengers.
  • The City of Charlottetown announced the city's two fire stations will be closed to the public, along with the police station, public works garage, wastewater treatment plant and City Hall offices.
  • All Roman Catholic churches on P.E.I. will be cancelling mass until further notice, says Bishop Richard Grecco.
  • In a press briefing Monday, Premier Dennis King declared a public health emergency and announced a $25-million aid package for businesses and workers affected by closures. 
  • Starting Tuesday, all licensed and unlicensed child-care centres on the Island are closed.

Financial relief


  • The P.E.I. government is now publishing the number of positive, negative and pending test results on its website. 
  • Western Hospital emergency is closed until March 20 because of a lack of nurse coverage.
  • All dental clinics on P.E.I. are closed until further notice. Some clinics can manage emergency care, patients must first call to have emergencies evaluated.
  • Physiotherapists, chiropractors and optometrists are scaling back services and asking patients to postpone non-urgent appointments.
  • Prior to Sunday's press conference, many seniors' homes and community care facilities across the province had already closed to outside visitors. That is now recommended for all such facilities.
  • Health PEI is rescheduling non-essential appointments, and said those affected will be contacted directly.
  • People who are ill or showing any symptoms of illness are being asked to call 811 and stay away from any P.E.I. health-care centres, unless they are seeking treatment. 
  • Morrison confirmed the first case of COVID-19 on P.E.I. Saturday. The case is a Queens County woman in her 50s who returned last weekend from a cruise. She is self-isolating and is reported to be doing well.

Schools, colleges and university


  • Saturday, Canadians abroad were advised to return home as soon as possible while commercial flights remain available. Some Islanders in Europe have already had their flights cancelled, and are having trouble rebooking.
  • P.E.I. recommended Islanders cancel all non-essential travel outside Canada.
  • Any Islanders who have travelled outside Canada — whether experiencing symptoms or not — are recommended to self-isolate for 14 days following their return if they travelled after March 8.
  • The federal government announced Friday there will be a ban on boats and cruise ships carrying more than 500 people from docking at Canadian ports until July.

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.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

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

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


  • A previous version of this story said funerals and wakes would be allowed with fewer than 20 people. In fact, funerals have to be postponed or delayed and wakes are allowed with fewer than 20 people.
    Mar 19, 2020 1:25 PM AT


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