P.E.I. suspends indoor dining at restaurants as 6 new COVID cases announced

Prince Edward Island is reintroducing some public health restrictions — including no indoor dining at restaurants —after six new cases of COVID-19 were reported Saturday.

New cases are 5 men, 1 woman all in their 20s

Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer, says the recent COVID-19 outbreak is expected to get worse before it gets better. (Government of P.E.I.)

Prince Edward Island is reintroducing some public health restrictions — including no indoor dining at restaurants —after six new cases of COVID-19 were reported Saturday.

The restrictions will begin Sunday and be in effect until at least March 14, Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief public health officer, said in a COVID-19 briefing Saturday.

P.E.I. has had 12 cases in the past four days, and a handful of potential exposure sites have been identified.

"This outbreak is likely to get worse before it gets better," Morrison said.

Other "circuit-breaker" measures announced Saturday include:

  • Takeout only at restaurants.
  • Personal gatherings limited to household members plus 10 "consistent" people.
  • Organized gathering limit of 50 for activities including concerts, worship services, and movie theatres
  • Weddings and funerals limited to 50 individuals plus officiants. Not eligible for multiple gatherings. No funeral or wedding receptions.
  • No sports games or tournaments, though practices are permitted.
  • Gyms, museums, libraries and retail stores can operate at 50 per cent capacity.
  • No changes to current measures for long-term care facilities.
  • Unlicensed and licensed child-care centres can operate at 100 per cent capacity, with physical distancing.

The Chief Public Health Office has asked all people aged 14-29 in the Summerside area to get tested this weekend even if they are not experiencing symptoms. People with symptoms are asked to get tested at clinics in Slemon Park or on Park Street in Charlottetown.

By 3 p.m. Saturday, Morrison said close to 1,000 tests were done at the temporary clinic at Three Oaks High School. The clinic is open until 8 p.m., and will be open Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for anyone in the Summerside area aged 14-29.

Callbecks Home Hardware in Summerside was identified Saturday as a possible exposure site. (Nicola MacLeod/CBC)

The new cases, five men and one woman, are all in their 20s. Five are close contacts of previous cases.

Four new exposure sites were also identified on Saturday — Callbecks Home Hardware in Summerside, Pita Pit locations in Summerside and Charlottetown, and Burger King in the Summerside Walmart.

Premier Dennis King said the province does not know if the new cases are variants, but the assumption is they are. He said it's not the news he wanted to deliver, but said circuit breakers have proven effective in the past.

"I think it's discouraging from the perspective for all Islanders simply because we've done very, very well to date and we can see the finish line, but we do seem to be stuck in this tangled spider's web of COVID that it won't really let us firmly out of its grip."

P.E.I. has had 126 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began almost a year ago. Thirteen remain active.

There have been no deaths or hospitalizations.

The Atlantic bubble remains suspended, as well.

Here is a list of possible public exposure sites on PEI. Public health officials are urging anyone who was at these locations on these dates and at these times to immediately self-isolate and get tested.

  • Pita Pit, Summerside: Feb 19, 11 a.m.-9 pm.; Feb 21, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Feb 22, 12 noon-9 p.m.; Feb 23, 12 noon-9 p.m.; Feb 24, 2-4 p.m.; Feb 26, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Callbeck's Home Hardware, Summerside: Feb. 16, 18, 19, 20, 22, 25, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (all dates)
  • Burger King, Granville Street, Summerside: Feb 14, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Feb 17, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.; Feb 18, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; Feb. 20, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4-5 p.m.; Feb 21, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Feb 22, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; Feb 23, 4 p.m.-1 a.m.; Feb 24, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; Feb 25, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Dominos Pizza, Summerside: Feb 17, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Feb. 18, 4-11 p.m.; Feb. 19, 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Feb 20: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Feb. 21, 4 p.m.-1 a.m.; Feb 22, 4-11 p.m.; Feb 23, 4 p.m.-1 a.m.; Feb 24, 4 p.m.-1 a.m.
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, Summerside: Feb 21, 10-11 a.m.
  • Dollarama, Summerside: Feb 20, 3-4 p.m.
  • Superstore, Montague: Feb 24, 4:30-5:30 p.m.; Feb 25, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
  • Tailgate Bar & Grill, Montague: Feb 25, 9:30-11:30 p.m.
  • Iron Haven Gym, Summerside: Feb. 20, 6-8 p.m.; Feb 23, 6-8 p.m.
  • Toys R Us, Charlottetown: Feb 23, 10 a.m.-12 noon
  • Taste of India, Charlottetown: Feb 20, 4-10 p.m.; Feb. 21, 3-9 p.m.; Feb 22, 3-9 p.m.; Feb 23, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
  • The Breakfast Spot, Summerside: Feb 20, 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

New Brunswick reported two new cases on Saturday as the active total, 41, continues to drop. New Brunswickers can now travel and visit people in different regions after a series of changes to the orange phase took effect.

Nova Scotia reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday as tighter restrictions came into force to stem a recent increase in case numbers. The province has 39 active cases.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported four new cases, as well as another death. It has 217 active cases.

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