Light at the end of the tunnel; Maritimers look forward to end of the pandemic

As case numbers remain low, and vaccination rates continue to rise across the Maritimes, many are focused on the light at the end of the tunnel of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whether it’s moving to Phase Four in Nova Scotia, or the Green Phase in New Brunswick, residents are cautiously optimistic that a return to normal may arrive by the end of this summer.

New Brunswick reported no new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, as the active number of cases in the province drops to 22 – the lowest number of active cases since last November.

The countdown to the Green Phase is less than one month away, with the target date of August 2, as long as at least 75 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers have received two doses of vaccine.

Businesses in the province say they are looking forward to hitting that reopening goal.

“Going green means we can operate at full capacity,” says Leonie Gillingham, co-owner of Claudine’s Eatery in Fredericton. “We’re going to be able to see servers and guests smile, and for businesses such as Claudine’s, we don’t have a patio to supplement our income, so being able to open up to full capacity is going to be huge for us.”

After a slow-start, the Maritime provinces are now among Canada’s leaders in vaccination rates.

In New Brunswick, 78.2 per cent of residents ages 12 and over have received at least one dose of vaccine.

The Department of Health says they’re working on rolling out their mobile vaccination clinics soon, to give those another options for people to get a shot.

“Targeted for maybe some high traffic areas, hopefully making it more convenient for people to just drop in and get their first, or second dose,” says Dorothy Sheppard, New Brunswick Minister of Health.

Nova Scotia reported eight new cases Saturday. As of Friday, 72.9 per cent of the province have received at least one dose of vaccine.

“I think Nova Scotia has really done a great job the past few weeks. They’ve really ramped up the vaccination timelines,” says Terrance Corbett. “I wasn’t expecting to get my second one until September, so to get it now is quite the improvement.”

“Everything here was run really smoothly,” says Cassie Brown. “It was easy to book, everybody was really fast and efficient, they did rapid testing as well, and you could print off your vaccine certificate or proof of vaccination.”

Nova Scotia will open its borders to some international travellers starting Monday, based on federal guidelines.

The province’s goal for Phase Four of its reopening plan is July 14.