Restrictions on P.E.I. sports, theatres, churches to be eased again
Province aiming for return to new normal stage this month
P.E.I. is removing some of the pandemic restrictions it put into place in early December, including allowing spectators back at some sporting events.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison outlined the changes at her regular weekly briefing Tuesday.
The province implemented what it called circuit breaker restrictions on Dec. 6, in an effort to control a Charlottetown-area COVID-19 outbreak with no clear link to travel.
The eased restrictions, coming into effect as of Wednesday at 8 a.m., will allow three cohorts of up to 50 for organized sporting events, concerts, worship services and movie theatres.
"These new measures represent a balance: further movement towards the new normal, with some caution to allow us that necessary time to determine if there are going to be increased cases of COVID-19 related to the holiday season," said Morrison.
Under the current restrictions, only two cohorts of up to 50 are allowed. For rinks, that took into account the group currently on the ice and the group preparing to go on the ice, leaving no room for spectators.
The changes will also provide better revenue opportunities for concerts and cinemas.
As well, restaurants and bars, currently limited to 50 people, "can now have up to two additional groups of 50 people with an approved operational plan," according to a provincial news release.
Tournaments back on too
Sport tournaments will also be allowed under the eased restrictions. Prior approval will be required for any event with more than 50 people, and any post-tournament activities will be restricted to members of the individual teams.
Morrison said personal indoor and outdoor gatherings will remain restricted to those in a household plus 10 other people, and health officials urge that those be the same 10 people consistently.
Organized gatherings are not permitted at private residences, and the current restrictions on numbers at weddings and funerals will not change.
Morrison said the province is in a fortunate position to be easing restrictions when so many other parts of the world are implementing new lockdowns.
"We would not be in the position we are today without the steady and unwavering commitment of individual Islanders and businesses," she said.
The province is aiming to return to new normal guidelines — those in place before the circuit break was announced on Dec. 6 — by Jan. 25.
Reminder about symptoms
The symptoms of COVID-19 can include:
- Cough or worsening of a previous cough.
- Possible loss of taste and/or smell.
- Sore throat.
- New or worsening fatigue.
- Shortness of breath.
- Runny nose.