A group of companies from PEI. says reopening plan puts them “clearly at a disadvantage”
A group of businesses in Prince Edward Island sent a letter to the province expressing concerns about the upcoming tourist season and how that puts them at a “distinct disadvantage” to provinces that are reopening earlier.
Now that Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have released their plans to reopen, the group says Prince Edward Island must change its plan. New Brunswick allows residents of Prince Edward Island to enter the province – without isolating themselves – on June 7, 20 days before Prince Edward Island reciprocates. And Islanders who travel to New Brunswick before June 27 will still need to self-isolate upon their return.
New Brunswick also offers discounts to travelers from Atlantic Canada who stay in the province for at least one night.
PEI Business Continuity Group spokesperson Kevin Murphy said they have consulted with the province on what businesses want to see from the reopening.
In a letter to the province, the group said: “Our tourism industry is clearly at a disadvantage, the traditional ‘best months’ of the season will be lost and the 2021 pandemic season which was supposed to be better than 2020 has the potential to be worse. . This, without a doubt, would be devastating for the industry. “
Premier Dennis King said on Sunday Prince Edward Island was not in the race with other provinces to reopen. But Murphy said PEI’s plan includes too many restrictions and fears local businesses will be left behind by their Maritime counterparts.
“It’s not just, you know, the operators, it’s really the tourists now who are commenting on this. And when we hear that, it’s red flags all over the place of business that are canceled.”
Tourism officials said Prince Edward Island is working on an incentive plan to attract visitors to the island, which will rival the plan introduced in New Brunswick. But Murphy said those incentives wouldn’t be much help if visitors felt the restrictions were too severe to come to the island.
Airlines are reducing
He said he heard from some operators who plan to remain closed this summer.
Plans to reopen PEI are also forcing some airlines to cut flights to Charlottetown, at least for early summer.
Liberal tourism critic Heath MacDonald said the province needs to revisit its plan.
“Why can’t the three premiers of the Atlantic provinces come together, have a more linear approach to this? ” he said. “We know the competition is going to be fierce in the tourism industry. COVID has put us on a level playing field and we have to be aggressive and we have to be ready.”
Officials from the king’s office said they would discuss business leaders’ concerns with the chief public health office.
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