N.B. premier reassures Islanders about opening border with 2 Quebec communities
'Certainly Islanders can take comfort in the fact that these are day passes'
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs says Islanders needn't worry about his province opening up to two communities in Quebec.
On Aug. 1, New Brunswick plans to allow day passes for people travelling to two regions in Quebec near the border in northern New Brunswick — Avignon Regional County Municipality, which borders Restigouche County and includes Listuguj First Nation and Pointe-à-la-Croix, and the Témiscouata Regional County Municipality, which borders Madawaska County.
"Certainly Islanders can take comfort in the fact that these are day passes. They can take comfort in the fact of how we are scrutinizing the borders the same as we have been," Higgs said in an interview with CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin.
"It's not like you're travelling throughout the province and staying overnight. That may come down the road but that's not what this is."
Since the Atlantic bubble was formed July 3, residents from the four Atlantic provinces have been able to travel throughout the region without being required to self-isolate.
P.E.I. not ready to expand bubble
P.E.I. Premier Dennis King said he is not ready to open up the Island's borders any further right now.
Newfoundland and Labrador opened its border to visitors from Fermont, Que. with travel exemptions late last month. Residents of Labrador City and Wabush, and residents of Fermont are permitted to travel only among these three communities, provided they are asymptomatic.
I think this is a very small step to help a community become a community again— N.B. Premier Blaine Higgs
Higgs said he is confident New Brunswick will be able to safely open its border the two Quebec communities, while maintaining restrictions to the rest of the province and country.
He said people crossing the Quebec border will be required to register online to verify their address and that they have not travelled outside the region, but he acknowledged it does require a certain amount of trust.
"It relies on integrity. It relies on people to basically be clear about what they've been doing and where they've been doing it."
'Going to visit friends'
Higgs said nobody wants to put their friends or family in danger.
"At the end of the day they're going to visit neighbours. They're going to visit friends. In the case of two First Nations communities, they're visiting the First Nations communities," he said.
"I think this is a very small step to help a community become a community again."
More from CBC P.E.I.
With files from CBC News: Compass