PEI

Islanders concerned about impact of COVID-19 outbreaks in N.B.

Recent COVID-19 outbreaks in New Brunswick are causing concern for some Island businesses and the impact it could have on the Atlantic bubble. 

'Do we really want to go back to late March, late April, lockdown restrictions?'

Mike Cassidy, owner of Maritime Bus, says his revenues will decline by about 80 per cent if the Atlantic bubble closes. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Recent COVID-19 outbreaks in New Brunswick are causing concern for some Island businesses and the impact it could have on the Atlantic bubble. 

Mike Cassidy, owner of Maritime Bus, said about half of his company's daily travel is between provinces. 

If the new cases lead to closing the Atlantic bubble, he said it could mean an 80 per cent decline in revenue. 

"When you see the cases arriving again in our bubble, and when we all talk about the second wave, we do have a concern. Do we really want to go back to late March, late April, lockdown restrictions?"

The Chief Public Health Office is advising Islanders to avoid non-essential travel in and out of the Moncton region, where many of the cases have occurred.

Marie MacLeod says travel to New Brunswick should be restricted. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

After a summer of regular visits with her sister in Moncton, Marie MacLeod is taking the CPHO's advice, and believes it should go a step further and become law. 

Just say no

"We should just say, 'No, you can't travel to New Brunswick right now,'" she said. 

"What they're saying is they don't recommend it. Well that doesn't stop people from travelling to New Brunswick. Especially coming on Christmas, a lot of people from P.E.I. go to New Brunswick shopping and stuff like that right?"

Even without official travel restrictions, Charlottetown coffee shop owner Campbell Webster worries the outbreaks in New Brunswick may keep some customers away. He said he noticed a drop in business any time new cases were announced.

Campbell Webster, who owns Timothy's World Coffee in Charlottetown, says business drops every time there is an announcement of new COVID-19 cases. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

"People would receive news about one or two cases, and all of a sudden, the very next day, the very next minute, business would drop," he said. 

"Even though there's not a single person hospitalized or died in P.E.I. from this, and we have a very small number of cases, the news of a case gets more people fearful."

The Charlottetown Islanders may also be affected by the New Brunswick outbreaks.

The major junior hockey club is scheduled to play the Moncton Wildcats in Moncton this weekend. The league hasn't said yet whether that game will go ahead, or what the outbreaks will mean for the rest of the season.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Steve Bruce

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