Study says most Atlantic Canadians not travelling outside of home province

The four Atlantic provinces have eased interprovincial travel restrictions, creating a so-called Atlantic bubble as the region has reported relatively few COVID-19 infections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

A study found that the majority of Atlantic Canadians have not taken advantage of the Atlantic bubble since it was announced in July, with only two in ten residents, on average, reporting travel within the bubble.

Halifax-based Narrative Research conducted a survey with over 3,300 Atlantic Canadians on their perceptions of coronavirus-related behavior.

The survey found 20 per cent of Nova Scotians and 28 per cent of New Brunswickers have travelled within the Atlantic bubble, outside of their home province.

Newfoundland reported the lowest amount at seven per cent, while P.E.I took the lead at 38 per cent of respondents travelling within the bubble.

“Those who have traveled within the Atlantic bubble are more likely to be under the age of 55, and higher household income earners,” read the survey report.

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Looking beyond the bubble, an average of three per cent Atlantic Canadians surveyed have travelled outside of the region within Canada, in the last four months.

The report also states 79 per cent Atlantic Canadians have not left their home province.

The survey reports Newfoundlanders are least satisfied with Atlantic bubble arrangements, with more than two in ten people reporting some dissatisfaction.

The regional average says nine out of ten people are happy with the arrangements, according to the report.

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However, respondents appeared to be adverse to a wider opening of travel options.

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“There is clear opposition among Atlantic Canadians to reopening the Atlantic borders to the rest of Canada,” the report says.

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil has hinted at the possibility of opening borders by the end of the summer, which would remove the required 14-day quarantine period for incoming travelers.

The survey report states more than three-quarters of Atlantic Canada residents oppose this idea, with Nova Scotians slightly more likely to be in opposition, at 80 per cent.

“Atlantic Canadians are clearly uncomfortable with the anticipated risk associated with opening our borders,” said Margaret Brigley, Narrative Research CEO, in the report.

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Brigley said in the report that the measures taken by Atlantic Canadians to limit the spread of COVID-19 have “paid off” and put the provinces in an enviable position.

“But findings suggest that residents are not confident that safety measures in place would protect us from a viral spread if borders were to open,” she said in the report.

As for consideration of American travelers, the report indicates nearly all Atlantic Canadians oppose opening the Canadian borders to the United States. Five per cent surveyed residents said they either completely or mostly support the idea.

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