Travel to Moncton, Campbellton being discouraged as COVID-19 alert level raised

People from P.E.I. and Nova Scotia have even more reason to abandon plans for trips to Moncton this Thanksgiving weekend, after New Brunswick confirmed a worsening COVID-19 situation. 

New Brunswick warns against non-essential travel to 2 cities

Motorists go through COVID-19 checkpoints in Borden-Carleton after coming off the Confederation Bridge linking New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island the day the Atlantic bubble opened, July 3. (Brian McInnis/The Canadian Press)

People from P.E.I. and Nova Scotia have even more reason to abandon plans for trips to Moncton this Thanksgiving weekend, after New Brunswick confirmed a bad COVID-19 situation is worsening.

The Moncton and Campbellton areas are being moved back to the orange alert level because of a spate of recent cases — with 13 new ones announced Friday alone. 

"Islanders are urged to follow the public health guidance in the jurisdiction they are planning to visit," said a short statement from P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison, issued late Friday.

"Today, New Brunswick public health officials asked that people not travel to or from the Moncton and Campbelton areas for non-essential reasons." 

Morrison's counterpart in Nova Scotia, Dr. Robert Strang, issued a similar warning. 

"We are monitoring the situation in New Brunswick and are in close contact with our counterparts in that province," he said. "There are no changes to our border policy at this time.

"It is important that Nova Scotians follow the public health measures here in our province or when visiting our neighbouring provinces. The key measures of physical distancing, gathering limits, hand washing and using a non-medical mask will help keep us safe."

Decision not 'made lightly'

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs was blunt at the news conference outlining the more stringent containment measures for the two cities. 

"We are discouraging travel in and out of the two impacted zones except for essential reasons…

"If you live in another zone [and] travel on the Trans-Canada Highway which passes through Greater Moncton, please do not stop at this time."

If you ... travel on the Trans-Canada Highway which passes through Greater Moncton, please do not stop at this time.- New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs

The premier said officers will be visiting businesses throughout the province and checking operational plans to make sure they're operating safely. 

He also stressed that for people visiting an indoor public space of any kind, "masks are required — and not optional."

The alert level changes take effect at midnight Friday. The rest of the province will remain at a more relaxed yellow alert level. 

Now 37 active cases in New Brunswick

News of the changed alert level came as the province confirmed 13 new COVID-19 cases, all but one in the Campbellton area. 

New Brunswick now has 37 active cases, out of 238 diagnosed since the pandemic began. Two people have died in the province.

Officials also warned people to be monitoring for coronavirus symptoms if they visited the McDonald's restaurant on Morton Avenue in Moncton between 8 a.m. and noon from Sept. 28 to Oct. 5, because of a "potential public exposure to the virus."

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