P.E.I.'s summer tourism season to be mostly Atlantic Canada again, says Morrison
‘We will take a slow, steady and measured approach’
There will likely be fewer pandemic restrictions on P.E.I. this summer than there were last year, but Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison does not expect to see a full opening of provincial borders.
Morrison looked ahead to the summer months during her regular weekly briefing on Tuesday.
The province will be watching pandemic conditions in the region as it moves toward a scheduled reopening of the Atlantic bubble by April 19, she said.
"We will not be hosting large mass events indoors or outdoors in 2021 but we do expect gathering numbers to increase," Morrison said.
"It is my hope when the Atlantic bubble is re-established that it will remain open indefinitely."
But Morrison said she did not expect Prince Edward Island to open up fully to the rest of Canada during the summer months.
"Consistent with our approach over the past year, we will take a slow, steady and measured approach to easing restrictions," she said.
"We will likely see a return to more normal travel by the fall."
Expects more visitors
Morrison said she does expect to see more visitors from outside Atlantic Canada this summer, but they will have to apply to particular travel streams, such as those for family members or seasonal residents, and will still have to self-isolate for 14 days.
She added that travel from the U.S. during the pandemic is a federal government decision, and noted the border between the U.S. and Canada remains closed for now.
Getting enough Islanders vaccinated is the central factor in easing restrictions, said Morrison.
The province is still targeting the end of June to get a first dose of vaccine to all Islanders who want it, with second doses being delivered through the summer months.
Morrison said she will be considering adjustments to travel restrictions based on whether travellers have been vaccinated, and said she expects to announce details on that in early April.