'Not out of the woods yet,' says premier as P.E.I. pandemic restrictions ease

With Phase 1 of ease back of COVID-19 restrictions in effect on P.E.I., Premier Dennis King says his big fear is the province is moving too quickly.

‘It does kind of feel good’

The ease back plan will be taken step by step, says P.E.I. Premier Dennis King. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

With Phase 1 of ease back of COVID-19 restrictions in effect on P.E.I., Premier Dennis King says his big fear is the province is moving too quickly.

Starting Friday, more services are available to Islanders, and groups of up to five from different households can gather outside, so long as they respect physical distancing.

"My big fear would be that we moved too quickly and we have to recoil and go back to where we were," said King.

"[I'm] really hopeful we can start Phase 1, learn a little bit about how we are interacting, and then what impact that could have and then hopefully be able to continue on to the next phases."

King said the province is acting on the advice of the Chief Public Health Office and he feels Islanders are in good hands.

"It does kind of feel good, doesn't it?" he said of the lifting of some restrictions.

"Like many Islanders I feel a certain liberating feeling here. I think finally we can shake the cobwebs off a bit and start to begin the process back to normal."

The ease back process is built around the idea of making sure COVID-19 cases do not overwhelm the health-care system, he said.

Help coming for fisheries

King was on the weekly conference call with other premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Thursday night.

He said he is expecting the announcement of a program to help fishermen either Friday or early next week.

Island fishermen are facing uncertain markets, because across North America the restaurants that serve luxury foods such as lobster and mussels are closed. The opening of lobster season has been delayed to May 15.

King said he has been talking to processors this week, and they feel there is a chance the season will not end too badly.

"They feel that the markets, while a little bit soft, are ready to come back rather aggressively," he said.

Legislature this month

The P.E.I. Legislature would normally be in the middle of a busy spring session at this time of year, with the provincial budget passed and a debate over the auditor general's report behind it.

But physical distancing requirements in the pandemic emergency have kept it closed.

Officials have determined that the legislature could meet with a quorum of 10 without any changes to the chamber, and with adjustments all 27 could meet.

"We're all in agreement that if we can find a way to get all elected members into the legislature that's what we want to do," said King.

King said he does expect the legislature to meet in some form in early May for a one-day session. The Opposition is pushing for more, but his preference is to have all members present.

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 from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Island Morning


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