A countless number of Nova Scotia families say they’re frustrated and heartbroken over Nova Scotia’s last-minute decision to partially remove New Brunswick from the Atlantic bubble.
“I feel that the premier and provincial officials knew that people were planning and should have been more cognizant of the impact that would have on people,” Ginette Mazerolle, a Halifax woman with parents in New Brunswick.
The so-called Atlantic Bubble, which earned both praise and envy internationally last year, was on track to open to all of the Atlantic provinces on June 23.
That track drastically changed for New Brunswickers when Nova Scotia premier Iain Rankin announced modified restrictions for those travellers less than 24 hours before the reopening.
Rankin made the announcement on the eve of the bubble reopening in response to New Brunswick’s Premier Blaine Higgs deciding to open to the rest of Canada with partially vaccinated travelers not having to self-isolate.
Higgs officially announced New Brunswick’s accelerated border reopening plans on June 16 and it’s the timeline in between Higgs’s decision and Rankin’s announcement that many families who haven’t seen their loved ones for more than six months, take issue with.
“There seems to have been a complete disconnect between Premier Rankin and the premier of New Brunswick to try to come to some kind of resolution and I feel that that is a failure on their part,” Mazerolle said.
Mazerolle’s frustration is echoed by new parents in Halifax, Nathan and Jenny Jeffrey. The couple owns and runs a small business and say public health protocols have been a priority for them since the beginning of the pandemic.
They say they take no issue with the safety concerns Nova Scotia’s government cited for the decision to place partial restrictions on New Brunswick travelers. It’s the way that decision was communicated to the public nearly 12 hours before New Brunswick was set to fully join the Atlantic bubble that’s causing them frustration.
“Right from the start saying, ‘Don’t get your hopes up with New Brunswick.’ Once we knew that they were going to be opening up to the rest of Canada, that maybe they’re not going to be part of that bubble — because getting our hopes up and then taking it away, that’s been the hardest part,” Jenny Jeffrey said.
The Jeffrey’s had their firstborn in February and 4.5 months later, the only interaction he’s had with his grandparents is virtual.
“He’s changing every day and they’re missing all of that. FaceTime is a great substitute but it’s not the same as holding and being able to give a big kiss to your first grandchild,” Jeffrey said.
Mazerolle shares similar emotional anguish over the impact the reversal has had on her family. One of her children is about to graduate high school and that milestone was set to be shared with her parents in person.
Now, both families are once again waiting for those in-person reunions to return.
“We’ve been saving birthdays and Christmas gifts under the bed that we were planning on bringing this weekend and finally seeing them after so many months,” Mazerolle said.
As of now, there is no clear indication as to what date New Brunswickers will be able to enter Nova Scotia without self-isolating as Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador can.
On June 30, Nova Scotia opens up to the rest of Canada with the same partial quarantine restrictions that are in place for New Brunswick.