Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King says he's "eternally grateful" that the COVID-19 pandemic has had such a minor impact on the island province compared to other provinces and countries.
"It's been quite a journey," King said of the last nine months.
In a year-end interview with CTV Atlantic, King says taking the right approach was the key to managing the province's response.
"If we recognized anything here it was the importance to be consistent, to be honest and to be open with everybody," King said. "And to try to lead, not by bossing everybody around, but just by making everybody a part of it."
King says handling the pandemic hasn't been without its challenges.
"When we do a circuit-breaker like we did a few weeks ago, 1,500 people don't go back to work the next day," King said. "Those are tremendous challenges."
Even with the Atlantic bubble allowing other residents from the region to travel to P.E.I. during the summer, the island's tourism industry felt the sting of reduced traffic because so many tourists normally come from outside Atlantic Canada. Despite the effect on the Island's economy, King and the province's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Heather Morrison have put the health of residents first.
Once the pandemic is over, though, King said the P.E.I. tourism department will get to work welcoming back visitors.
"We're friendly by nature," he said. "But we will have to spend some time and money trying to bring people back and rolling out the red carpet."
You can watch the full interview here.