P.E.I. eases restrictions on indoor masking; one active COVID-19 case remains
P.E.I. is easing some restrictions on mandatory masking in the province and testing travellers at the border, as just one active case of COVID-19 remains in the province.
Effective immediately, non-medical masks are no longer required, but will be encouraged in indoor settings for individuals ages 12 and older.
"Masks do remain an important layer of protection when we are around people who we do not know, or who may not be fully protected against COVID-19," said Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.'s chief health officer, during a COVID-19 update on Friday.
Morrison said businesses and organizations can choose to follow their own guidelines on requiring masks indoors in private establishments.
"Businesses and organizations providing in-person services to the public, where physical distancing cannot be maintained, including restaurant staff, retail and grocery staff, hair-stylists and barbers, should continue to have staff and service providers wear masks, given that they don't know the vaccine status of their customers or patrons," said Morrison.
Masks have been mandatory in closed, indoor settings in P.E.I. since November 2020.
CHANGES IN TESTING AT POINTS OF ENTRY
During a news update Friday, Dr. Heather Morrison said the province will no longer require residents of Atlantic Canada who have been approved for a P.E.I. pass to be tested upon entering the province.
"The decreasing case counts in the Atlantic provinces and throughout Canada, coupled with our extensive testing data and increasing vaccine rates give us a degree of confidence that the risk of importation of COVID-19 into P.E.I. is low," said Morrison on Friday.
Effective at noon Friday, testing will be focused on travellers from outside of Atlantic Canada, and from inside Atlantic Canada who do not have a P.E.I. pass and are required to self-isolate for eight days.
All travellers will continue to be screened at all P.E.I. points of entry.
Morrison says that since the P.E.I. pass program began on June 27, over 25,000 rapid tests have been conducted at the province's points of entry, with no positive tests detected.
ONE ACTIVE CASE REMAINS
Prince Edward Island is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, as one active case remains in the province.
The province last announced a new case on Tuesday, involving a person in their 60s who recently travelled outside Atlantic Canada. They are self-isolating and being followed daily by public health.
P.E.I has had 208 positive cases since the pandemic began, with 207 cases now considered recovered.
The latest data from public health published on July 8 shows 118,590 people, or 84.3 per cent of Islanders ages 12 and over, have received at least one doe of a vaccine.
There are 43,065 people, or 30.6 per cent of Islanders ages 12 and over, with two doses.
As of July 8, public health has administered 161,660 total doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
MORE RESTRICTIONS TO EASE JULY 18
P.E.I. officials say the province is still on track to move to Phase 3 of the province's Moving Forward reopening plan on July 18.
That will include increased gathering limits
- Personal gathering limits will increase to 50 people, with no limit on the number of people seated at tables or restaurants.
- Organized gatherings hosted by a business or organization are permitted with cohorts of up to 200 people outdoors or 100 people indoors.
- Multiple gatherings hosted by a business or organization are permitted with an approved operational plan.
- Weddings and funerals may host up to 200 people (following cohort limits).
- Sport and Recreation activities that require close contact (ex: sports, performance, etc.) are limited to a single cohort of 100 per day.
"These are very positive steps and indicate that we continue to ease out of COVID-19 and resume more normal activities and interactions," said Morrison.
PEI PASS OPENS TO ALL CANADIANS
The province announced Tuesday all Canadian travellers are eligible to apply for the PEI pass to visit the island.
Starting July 18, Prince Edward Island will be welcoming visitors from outside Atlantic Canada and the Magdalen Islands, which is three weeks earlier than originally planned.
If you are a Canadian who is fully vaccinated, you will be able to go to P.E.I. multiple times without needing to isolate if you have the pass.
You can learn more about travelling to P.E.I. here.