Round two of the Atlantic bubble is expected to begin by April 19, the Council of Atlantic Premiers announced earlier today. “While COVID-19 remains a serious concern, premiers are encouraged by Atlantic Canadians’ adherence to public health measures, the containment of regional outbreaks, and the progress in rolling out vaccines,” the council said in a release.
“Premiers are grateful to front-line workers for their continued efforts and the ongoing dedication of Atlantic Canadians in helping to contain the spread of the virus.” The opening of the bubble — which allows people in the four Atlantic provinces to travel within the region with no self-isolation requirement — is “conditional upon COVID-19 case numbers remaining low in the region, containment of outbreaks, and ongoing advice from Atlantic Chief Medical Officers of Health,” the council said.
The news sparked a cheery banter between the government accounts for the Atlantic provinces on Twitter, which traded gifs expressing their excitement over the bubble.
While there were initial discussions of opening a ‘Maritime bubble’ and excluding Newfoundland and Labrador at first, following a large spike in cases last month, Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin said Thursday that province will be included in the bubble this year.”Their cases have come down over time, and now they’re down where New Brunswick is,” he said.
The Council of Atlantic Premiers said Newfoundland and Labrador’s participation in the bubble “is conditional on continued progress in easing its provincial alert-level restrictions.”
Last summer, the four provinces allowed free travel across their borders with no need for a 14-day self isolation period. Those restrictions were reinstated after an increase in cases.Rankin said with the second version of the Atlantic bubble, they hope to achieve “more normalcy, commerce, people being able to visit their friends and family.”
“I think for a long time we’ve been able to keep our borders tight, and that’s proven successful and the previous Atlantic bubble was very successful so I’m eager to see that happen.”
‘It’s huge,’ business owner says
The reopening of the bubble came as welcome news to Nico Manos, the co-owner of the Lawrencetown Surf Company in Lawrencetown, N.S.
“It’s huge, really. It’s essentially going to give us a season and some of those tourism numbers that we generally get, so that’s great,” he said. “And last year, [the bubble] had a huge impact for our business so we’re hoping for the same this year.”