Caught between two provinces, Quebec border town mulls leaving Atlantic bubble

Click to play video 'New Brunswick shrinks bubble with Quebec after rise in COVID-19 cases in Avignon' New Brunswick shrinks bubble with Quebec after rise in COVID-19 cases in Avignon
New Brunswick is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, and another case involving someone who lives in Quebec but works in New Brunswick. After a steep rise in cases near the border, New Brunswick is clamping down on who can visit from Quebec. Travis Fortnum has the story – Sep 24, 2020

MONTREAL – A Quebec mayor says his town on the border with New Brunswick may leave the Atlantic bubble after restrictions were put in place that prevent his citizens from travelling anywhere else in Quebec.

Pointe-a-la-Croix along with the neighbouring Listuguj First Nation are the only remaining Quebec communities whose residents are allowed to make day trips to New Brunswick for reasons other than work, child custody or medical care.

While the links between his Gaspesie town and neighbouring Campbellton, N.B., are strong, Pointe-a-la-Croix Mayor Pascal Bujold says he doesn’t agree with new tighter restrictions brought in last week in response to a rise in cases in neighbouring Quebec regions.

Read more: St. Stephen, N.B., on alert after COVID-19 outbreak at mill near U.S. border

According to a ministerial decree issued by the Quebec government, residents of the town can no longer travel elsewhere in the province, and those living in nearby Quebec towns cannot visit unless it’s for work, health care, or humanitarian reasons.

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Bujold says the restrictions go far beyond what he’d agreed to, and he’s willing to leave the bubble unless New Brunswick makes a number of exceptions that would allow neighbouring residents to visit family members and an agreed-upon list of businesses in his town.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said today that his government has no intention of expanding the bubble. Rather, he says contractions are possible due to the high case numbers in parts of Quebec.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct 6, 2020