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What you need to know as a modified Atlantic Bubble opens

Motorists line up to cross the Confederation Bridge back in 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Brian McInnis

The so-called Atlantic Bubble, which earned both praise and envy internationally last year, is making a comeback Wednesday — but in a modified form.

Unlike the bubble of 2020, which allowed residents of the four Atlantic provinces to travel without isolation or restrictions, vaccination status will be playing a role this time around.

As well, New Brunswick has opened itself to the rest of Canada ahead of its Atlantic neighbours, which has led Nova Scotia to place separate rules on people arriving from that province for now.

Here’s a look at what the rules are within the Atlantic provinces:

Nova Scotia

People travelling from P.E.I. or Newfoundland and Labrador can enter Nova Scotia for any reason and will no longer have to self-isolate or fill out the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in form.

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While people are encouraged to get vaccinated and have regular COVID-19 tests, it’s not required.

Read more: COVID-19: N.S. changes course, re-opening to Atlantic Canada set for June 23

As well, people who came from these provinces prior to Wednesday and are currently isolating, can stop.

Travellers from New Brunswick, however, will have isolation requirements based on their vaccination status and testing. This includes Nova Scotians returning home from that province.

New Brunswickers can upload their proof of vaccination into their Nova scotia Safe Check-in form and receive automatic approval, but should be prepared to show their proof to border officials.

The isolation requirements are:

  • two dose of vaccine at least 14 days before arriving in Nova Scotia: self-isolate until there’s a negative test result
  • one dose of vaccine at least 14 days before arriving in Nova Scotia: self-isolate for at least seven days until two negative test results. Tests should be on day one or two and day five or six
  • not vaccinated or one dose within 14 days of arriving in Nova Scotia: self-isolate for 14 days. Testing at beginning and end of that isolation is recommended.

The tests need to be PCR lab tests and cannot be rapid tests. Those arriving by air may have their first test at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

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During a news briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, said children and youth travelling with a parent or guardian will follow the quarantine rules associated with the “least vaccinated” adult.

These same New Brunswick rules will be extended to travellers from outside of Atlantic Canada as of June 30.

New Brunswick

New Brunswick is in the second phase of its reopening plan, which means anyone travelling from Atlantic Canada, Avignon and Témiscouata, Que., do not need to self-isolate.

As well, anyone from within Canada who has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine does not need to self-isolate.

Read more: COVID-19: N.B. to welcome rest of Canada into province, 2 weeks ahead of schedule

That exemption is extended to New Brunswick residents returning home from rotational work within Canada, child custody cases, people driving through New Brunswick, non-resident commercial truck drivers and residents of Listuguj and Pointe-à-la-Croix, Que., upon entry at Campbellton.

Those that do need to self-isolate are:

  • anyone travelling within Canada who has not received at least one dose of a vaccine. Isolation ends with a negative test taken on days five through seven
  • anyone travelling from an international destination who has not received both doses of a vaccine. These travellers must isolate for 14 days and submit for a test on day 10, as well as follow any federal quarantine and testing requirements.

Children under the age of 12, who are not eligible for a vaccine, must follow the same isolation requirements as the other people they are travelling with.

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Prince Edward Island

As of Wednesday, vaccinated people from within Atlantic Canada who have been approved under a “travel stream” — such as compassionate reasons or seasonal residents — can submit their vaccine record and if approved, will not need to self-isolate in P.E.I.

The province notes that travellers will need a negative COVID-19 test “soon after” arriving in the province.

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As of June 27, the province enters Step 2 of its reopening — dubbed Moving Forward Plan.

That means that fully or partially vaccinated people travelling to P.E.I. from within Atlantic Canada with a PEI Pass, which verifies vaccination status, will not have to isolate. There will, however, be testing at points of entry into the province.

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Unvaccinated visitors from Atlantic Canada and unvaccinated Islanders will be required to complete a declaration, be tested at entry and isolate for eight days. A negative test is required on day eight.

Permanent residents of the Magdalen Islands will follow the same rules as the rest of Atlantic Canada, and vaccinated Islanders can travel to the Magdalen Islands and not self-isolate when they return, subject to testing.

Meanwhile, P.E.I. residents travelling within Atlantic Canada for essential same-day travel — such as child custody or medical and dental appointments — are not required to self-isolate when returning to P.E.I., subject to restrictions.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland says that effective Wednesday, permanent residents of Atlantic Canada are permitted to enter the province without testing or self-isolation, regardless of vaccination status.

However, travellers must:

  • be asymptomatic at the time of travel
  • have not travelled outside the Atlantic region within the last 14 days
  • have not been in close contact with a person with COVID-19.

Atlantic Canadian visitors will need to complete a travel form and show identification, but do not need to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result.

Permanent residents of Atlantic Canada who travelled outside of the region within the last 14 days will be required to self-isolate. Meanwhile, those who arrived in Newfoundland and Labrador before Wednesday may leave self-isolation so long as they do not have COVID-19 symptoms or left the region within past 14 days.

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