The Atlantic Bubble is set to reopen on April 19, which comes as welcome news to many.
The Bubble is a special travel-restricted area created in July last year consisting of the provinces of New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador, which allowed free-travel within these provinces without the mandatory 14-day isolation period.
During the second wave of COVID-19 cases in November, the Bubble was indefinitely suspended, thereby halting non-essential travel in the Maritimes.
On March 18 it was announced in a news statement that the Atlantic Bubble was scheduled to reopen on April 19, and the statement also praised the continued cooperation of the public in adhering to COVID-19 guidelines.
“[The Atlantic] Premiers are encouraged by Atlantic Canadians’ adherence to public health measures, the containment of regional outbreaks, and the progress in rolling out vaccines," read the statement. "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."
On March 9 it was made public that Atlantic provinces were discussing the potential reopening of the bubble, with Nova Scotian Premier Iain Rankin disclosing that he had talked to both New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island authorities about the reopening.
That same day Premier Blaine Higgs expressed that he was hopeful for the opening of the bubble, indicating that it would have both social and economic benefits.
“We [Higgs and Rankin] are both thinking that if things stay as they are and continue to improve in our respective provinces, that we’d be looking at some time maybe in late April,” said Higgs. “Aside from the economic benefits, socially, the benefit is huge. We have a lot of family members that are connected either with the island or with Nova Scotia or Newfoundland.”
The reopening of the bubble brings hope to a lot of people, including first-year BA student Gabby Black, who hasn’t been able to travel to Fredericton since she started at UNB last fall because of the bubble closure.
Sheri Sommerville, the CEO of the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce, said businesses are looking forward to COVID-19 restrictions being eased and borders reopening.
“We need businesses to get back to business and people to get back to work. The earlier we can open up and get the Atlantic bubble in place, that’s going to help our retail and our restaurants,” Somerville said in an interview with CTV news on March 8.