New Brunswick to stop screening drivers at borders with P.E.I., Nova Scotia

Travellers heading into New Brunswick will no longer face screening at the Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia borders as of Oct. 8, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs told a briefing Friday.

Move taking effect Oct. 8 should speed up interprovincial travel

Lineups have occasionally been long for people leaving P.E.I. to be screened before being allowed into New Brunswick. This photo shows traffic on the Saturday morning of Labour Day weekend, when drivers waited up to an hour. (Carolyn Ryan/CBC)

Travel within the Atlantic bubble will get easier as of next Thursday, Oct. 8.

That's the day travellers will no longer be screened by New Brunswick officials at the Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia borders, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs told a briefing Friday.

Instead, some of those officials will be redeployed to the borders with Quebec and the United States, while others will be keeping a closer eye on gatherings and mask use.  

"Our biggest success has been related to border protection and … in our situation, 95 per cent of all cases are related to travellers," said Higgs. "And so the point is, that's where we're putting our efforts and it's travellers coming outside of the Atlantic."

CBC News contacted Nova Scotia and P.E.I. government officials Friday afternoon to see if either province was making any changes to its screening protocol in light of New Brunswick's move. In both cases, the answer was no. 

Prince Edward Islanders have sometimes faced long waits at the New Brunswick side of the Confederation Bridge when heading to Moncton and other locations for shopping or tourism visits, since the bubble opened on July 3. Similarly, cars and trucks have often faced highway lineups on the border between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. 

The bubble was designed to allow residents of the Atlantic provinces to move more freely without having to isolate for two weeks when they reach their destinations, and was based on the fact that there has been little community transmission for months in this region.  

Quebec was "making good progress" just over a month ago, said Higgs. But the province immediately to the west and north of New Brunswick is now reporting hundreds of new cases each day.

Word about the relaxed rules for Islanders entering New Brunswick came as Higgs and Chief Medical Officer of Health Jennifer Russell gave their first COVID-19 briefing in several weeks.

They also said the province is close to deciding on a mandatory mask order to slow the spread of COVID-19.



With files from Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon, CBC News


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