COVID-19 on P.E.I.: What's happening on Wednesday, March 18

P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison announced Wednesday liquor and cannabis stores will close at 2 p.m. Thursday, although in a second media briefing she said based on a rush to stores by Islanders, the province will consider alternate ways to get Islanders those products. 

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

Charlottetown streets were quiet as public health officials continue to urge Islanders to stay home. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison announced Wednesday liquor and cannabis stores will close at 2 p.m. Thursday, although in a second media briefing she said based on a rush to stores by Islanders, the province will consider alternate ways to get Islanders those products. 

Hairdressers, nail salons, malls, fitness and gym facilities as well as dental clinics, bars, theatres and sit-in dining rooms at restaurants are being asked to close until further notice. Non-essential government services are also closed. UPEI and Holland College have also moved to close down all but essential services on campus.

Morrison also asked Wednesday that all businesses close that are not essential — adding grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, hardware stores, auto repair shops and Cavendish Farms potato processing operations are considered essential and can remain open. 

The spring sitting of the P.E.I. Legislature has been suspended, said Speaker Colin LaVie.

Tourism and Economic Development Minister Matthew MacKay announced a temporary $200 weekly allowance  for those whose hours have been cut due to COVID-19 but continue to work. He promised more details Thursday. 

Under the state of public health 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.

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Financial relief

  • The province announced $500,000 in relief, including money for United Way, food banks, the Salvation Army and other non-government organizations that help Islanders.
  • Innovation PEI will provide self-employed Islanders $500 a week, and provide loans of up to $100,000 to small business affected by the pandemic.
  • Workers who continue to work but have had their hours cut due to COVID-19 will be eligible for a temporary $200 allowance per week.
  • The province's largest landlord, the P.E.I. Housing Corporation, will suspend evictions for six weeks. 
  • Maritime Electric is suspending disconnection for non-payment for two weeks.
  • P.E.I.'s Minister of Education Brad Trivers announced licenced daycare staff will be eligible for employment insurance. Grants and subsidies will continue to be available for licenced daycares. The province also announced that emergency child-care services will be available to essential workers who have no other options during this time. 


  • Health PEI announced Wednesday it will restrict all visitors to its facilities, except palliative care, intensive care, neonatal intensive care, obstetric and pediatric units. In these units, only one designated visitor is permitted — a member of the patient's immediate family or their care partner within the hospital.
  • Seniors' homes and community care facilities across the province remain closed to outside visitors.
  • 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.
  • Physiotherapy clinics across P.E.I. will close until further notice, the physiotherapy association announced Wednesday, while chiropractors and optometrists said they are scaling back services.
  • 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

  • UPEI and Holland College are moving to have essential personnel only on campus.
  • UPEI and Holland College have suspended in-person classes for the remainder of the semester. Holland College revised the date online learning will be available to students to Wednesday, March 25.
  • The government has closed P.E.I. schools until at least April 6, but online learning could begin as soon as March 23.
  • Sunday evening, Morrison and Education Minister Brad Trivers announced the closures of child-care centres and schools in response to COVID-19.


  • 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.


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