“I’m just praying that they’ll let us go home,” said the recently retired professor from the town of Rutland, Vermont. The 68-year-old has owned a cottage in the Rustico area for over 17 years and she can’t wait to return to the island where she returns every year – or has, until COVID- 19 make that impossible.
The border has been closed to all but essential travelers for a year, and although vaccination programs are increasing in both countries, neither has defined the conditions for a possible reopening or any timetable. Clark says she wants people to remember people south of the border wanting to go home for emotional reasons, yes, but they also have a financial investment in PEI.
“I am no longer a tourist,” she said. “It’s at my house. I pay the taxes, home insurance, electric bill, upkeep of my cottage, as well as food and clothes when I’m there, ”she told CBC News. “Most importantly, my friends are here. ”
Clark says she has a favorite church on the island; a granddaughter, Sophia, whose best friend lives on the island; and even a dog she bought in Prince Edward Island about eight years ago: a Shih Tzu named Ceilidh.
Couple soon to be vaccinated
Clark intends to live in Prince Edward Island six months a year, and being left out has been heartbreaking, she said.
Clark says all of the COVID-19 restrictions have been understandable. But now that she has received her first dose of the vaccine, with the second scheduled for Wednesday, she is wondering when she and her husband, Robert Westbom, will be able to return.
“If people can show proof that they have been vaccinated and follow specific rules to ensure safety, shouldn’t we be allowed to come to our cabins? ” she says.
Prince Edward Island MP Wayne Easter is among those who recently called for a strategy on how to reopen the border.
Easter co-chairs a Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary group and on Wednesday released a joint statement with his US counterpart, Congressman Brian Higgins, saying the Canadian and US governments must make a border plan a priority.
“We need a step-by-step process of the A, Bs, and Cs, which needs to be in place to allow this border to open, the dates we’re trying to target to get there,” Easter said. “So we can give our businesses and others the assurance that there will be standardization to come, but with all the safety factors included.”
The border decision is a federal matter
In a COVID-19 briefing on March 23, Prince Edward Island’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Heather Morrison, said any decision regarding the Canada-U.S. Border is entirely up to the government. federal.
If the border were to open, visitors from the United States would follow the same rules as other seasonal residents; whether or not they were vaccinated, they would still be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
However, Morrison said they expected to have details in early April on the adjustments the province is making based on whether someone is vaccinated.
Clark says she is ready to abide by any quarantine and that when the border opens they will get into their car immediately.
“I’m having goosebumps right now… I imagine my friends hugging me as soon as I arrive,” she said.