Testing changes for vaccinated Atlantic Canadians; mask requirements relaxed
Premier Dennis King and Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, have announced new COVID-19 testing changes for PEI Pass holders travelling within the Atlantic region and relaxed requirements for masking in the province.
Effective immediately, it is no longer mandatory for non-medical masks to be worn in public, indoor spaces in PEI. Masking is still encouraged and PEI residents and visitors should consider their own health, vaccination status and the vaccination status of others around them, and their exposure to the public when deciding to wear a mask in indoor public spaces. Masks are optional for children age two to 11 and children under the age of two years should not wear a mask.
Those who serve the public (e.g., restaurant servers, retail and grocery store staff, hair stylists and barbers) should continue to wear a mask, given they are not able to determine the vaccine status of their patrons and customers.
All health care facilities and providers including Health PEI hospitals and clinics will continue to require masks until we have 80 percent of eligible PEI residents fully vaccinated. For example, for now there will be no changes in the mask requirements for staff, patients, visitors, and partners in care in long term care facilities.
There are some instances when masks will continue to be mandatory, including for individuals with specific travel-related self-isolation exemptions, such as work isolators and compassionate visitors.
Service providers, organizations and businesses do not need to request proof of vaccine from patrons who are not wearing a mask. Businesses and organizations may choose to follow their own policies and guidelines that are more strict than the provincial guidance.
Effective immediately, individuals with a PEI Pass travelling to PEI from within Atlantic Canada will not be tested at entry points. The testing strategy at the points of entry will shift towards people who are unvaccinated, travelers from outside Atlantic Canada and individuals arriving from international destinations. Everyone entering the province will continue to be screened upon entry.
As of Thursday, July 8, a total of 161,660 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. 84.35 percent of the eligible population has received at least one dose of vaccine, and 30.6 percent have received two doses.
As always, Islanders are urged to get tested if they experience any symptoms of COVID-19, even after a previous negative test, and to self-isolate until the results come back. Islanders are also encouraged to download the free national COVID Alert app, which will let them know if they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Prince Edward Island currently has two active cases of COVID-19 and has had 208 positive cases since the onset of the pandemic. Information about the province’s COVID-19 cases is available online.
Islanders are encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and every Island resident 12 and older who wants to be immunized will have an opportunity to receive the vaccine in 2021. Information on PEI’s COVID-19 vaccine roll out and appointment booking information is available online.
The Chief Public Health Office continues to work closely with the federal government, provincial and territorial counterparts, government departments and Health PEI to monitor the pandemic situation and prepare for all COVID-19 related impacts to the province, including health, social and economic. The public health risk of COVID-19 is continually reassessed and Islanders will be updated as new information becomes available.
Everyone is encouraged to follow routine prevention measures:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue
- Stay home if you are not feeling well
- Limit touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Keep your circle of contacts small
- Physical distance - stay two meters (6 feet) apart
- Don’t share items like drinking glasses and water bottles
- Frequently clean surfaces like taps, doorknobs and countertops
- Visit a drop-in-clinic to be tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms
Health and Wellness