Atlantic Canadians hoping for big steps toward reopening internationally say they’re a little disappointed Monday.
“I heard Minister Bill Blair speak on the weekend and he certainly set up today as some grand announcement,” says Halifax Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Patrick Sullivan.
“I don’t believe it is a grand announcement.”
The federal government announced Monday that fully vaccinated Canadians will be able to enter the country without quarantining starting July 5, as long as they test negative for COVID-19. But there was no further timeline or plan given by Ottawa, nor any sense of when the region might again be entertaining visitors from the United States and beyond.
That’s bad news for businesses anxiously waiting for foreign currency cash flow.
“Where’s the rest of the plan? This gets us to July 6, but there’s zero clarity after that,” Sullivan says.
“We certainly want Canadians to be safe, but businesses want to understand what’s coming next.”
Many had hoped vaccine rollouts and provincial reopening plans would pave the way for Canada to spell out its own.
But so far, it hasn’t – and that’s leaving the tourism industry in the Maritimes scratching their heads.
“From what I read and understand, there’s nothing there tourism-wise,” says Carol Alderdice, president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick.
“We hope Canadian travellers will come and visit New Brunswick.”
That is an option in that province, where isolation requirements were just recently lifted for residents Canada-wide.
In Nova Scotia, the plan for a similar level of reopening is yet unclear.
“Right now the rules say that after July 14 they may or may not have to quarantine,” says Sullivan.
“So again, no clarity there. We need clarity.”
Sullivan says borders at both levels will need to reopen before Halifax businesses can fully breathe a sigh of relief.
Alderdice is looking on the bright side.
“At least they’re starting to open and that’s something we’ve been fighting for,” she says.