Morrison throws bone to restaurants with possible earlier opening
Chief public health officer says she continues to re-evaluate province's plan to ease restrictions
The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce is welcoming the idea of allowing restaurants to open sooner than scheduled under P.E.I.'s plan to ease restrictions from COVID-19.
Restaurants are allowed to offer take-out service and delivery, but customers are not permitted to dine inside.
Under the province's Renew P.E.I. Together plan, restaurants would not be allowed to serve food inside, and likely not at full capacity, until Phase 3, which begins June 12.
However, in her COVID-19 briefing Friday, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said she has been in discussion with the P.E.I. Restaurant Association about timelines and guidelines for reopening.
"In consultation with the restaurant association and other operators, we're looking at a potential earlier date for restaurants to open, and discussions will continue over the days ahead," she said.
Good news for chamber
That was good news for the chamber, which released a statement shortly afterward.
"The chamber urges government to continue these collaborative efforts to reopen businesses as soon as possible while ensuring the health and safety of employees, customers, clients and the greater public," said Gerard Adams, the chamber's interim CEO.
Morrison said she is committed to re-evaluating and updating the COVID-19 recovery plans.
On Friday, she made a modification to allow households to host groups of up to five people from different households. That was not scheduled to happen until Phase 2 on May 22.
All confirmed cases recovered
She said P.E.I. is in a position to consider easing restrictions because all 27 cases on P.E.I. have recovered, and there is no evidence of any other active cases or community transmission.
"We know people are struggling and we hear their stories every day," she said. "Part of our monitoring and evaluation is to look at unintended impacts of public health action … including economic impacts."
Retail outlets, hair salons, greenhouses and cleaning services are among the businesses scheduled to reopen in Phase 2.
Gyms, bowling alleys, wellness centres and art galleries are also among the facilities scheduled to reopen in Phase 3.
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