Premier promises to keep a close watch on people in vehicles with U.S. plates

Premier promises to keep a close watch on people in vehicles with U.S. plates

Premier promises to keep a close watch on people in vehicles with U.S. plates

HALIFAX — With an increasing number of Nova Scotians complaining on social media about seeing cars with American plates entering the province, Premier Stephen McNeil has pledged to keep a closer watch on those showing up at the border from outside Atlantic Canada.

However, McNeil also warned Nova Scotians not to jump to conclusions about the people in those cars, saying most of them are probably Canadian citizens coming home after living or working abroad.

“There are lots of stories circulating, conversation on social media about Americans and others who are coming into our province and not self-isolating,” the premier told a virtual news conference Friday.

“If this is true, this is not acceptable. If you commit to self-isolating for 14 days, we expect you to keep your word.”

The premier made the comments about 12 hours after the four Atlantic provinces lifted travel restrictions for residents to reflect the region’s relatively low and stable COVID-19 infection rates.

Residents of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador can now travel to any of the other three provinces without self-isolating for 14 days after arriving — but the requirement remains in place for anyone who lives outside the region.

Even though the Canada-U.S. border remains closed to non-essential travel, Canadians citizens living in the United States are allowed to enter Canada, as long as they have a passport and are not displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

On Friday, the provincial government’s Facebook page lit up with harsh comments about Americans entering Nova Scotia.

“I am shocked and appalled that the premier will allow Americans in,” said one post. “I thought the prime minister said the borders remain closed! I have heard numerous accounts of Americans in restaurants and trying to book kayak tours and admitting they haven’t quarantined.”

Another Facebook post was more blunt: “I just read that our government will not be stopping people with American plates at the border. What is this Atlantic ‘bubble’ about if Americans can come into the province?”

McNeil said Nova Scotians’ growing concerns about people coming from the United States has prompted his government to intensify efforts to keep track of those entering the province who are not from another part of Atlantic Canada.

Under the current rules, these people must show their identification at the border and say where they will be staying during their 14 days of self-isolation. They must also provide a telephone number. Those intending to stay less than 14 days are being turned away at the border.

“We will be ramping up our calls and check-ins to make sure you are where you said you would be, and you are indeed self isolating,” the premier said. “We want to be open and welcoming, but we are not going to let our guard down.”

Earlier this week, McNeil made it clear he would not take steps to restrict Americans from entering the province.

“We have never closed our border at any point,” he said Thursday, adding there were plans in the works to open Atlantic Canada’s borders to the rest of Canada by mid-July.

Last Friday, however, the Nova Scotia government cancelled the 2020 sailing season for the ferry service that links the province with Maine, citing the ongoing struggle to contain COVID-19 in the United States.

“Like many of you, I am concerned about the number of (COVID-19) cases that we hear about in the U.S.,” McNeil said at the time.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston said there is growing anxiety over the rules at the province’s border crossings.

“Over the course of the past three-and-a-half months, the province took no steps to address the issues at our border,” Houston said in a statement.

“No one, including Americans, have been denied entry — despite the fact that yesterday alone, the United States of America recorded over 50,000 COVID-19 cases …. While restaurants (in Nova Scotia) were taking names and numbers of patrons, the government wouldn’t even do that when cars were entering from a different country where COVID-19 is rampant.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020.

Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta had 1,571 active COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta’s central zone now has 1,101 active COVID-19 cases

Provincial death toll has risen by nine

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta reports 1,731 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday

The province’s central zone has 992 active cases

(Photo submitted)
Ermineskin citizen graduates vet school, is part of busy practice

Dr. Justin Hodgson is rolling up his sleeves in Meadow Lake, Sask.

Shaela Dansereau/Pipestone Flyer
Wetaskiwin City services impacted by new public health measures

Public centers and availability to public impacted by the new public health measures.

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

In this undated photo issued by the University of Oxford, a volunteer is administered the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Moderna chairman says Canada near head of line for 20 million vaccine doses

Trudeau created a firestorm when he said Canadians will have to wait a bit to get vaccinated

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre speaks during a news conference Monday, Nov. 16, 2020 in Ottawa. Poilievre says building up the Canadian economy post-pandemic can't be achieved without a massive overhaul of the tax system and regulatory regime. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Conservatives attack Trudeau’s ‘reset’ but they have ideas for their own

‘We don’t need subsidized corporate welfare schemes that rely on endless bailouts from the taxpayer’

There were 47 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta Tuesday. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
Spread of COVID-19 in Brampton, Ont., linked to systemic factors, experts say

‘We’re tired. We’re numb. We’re overworked. We’re frustrated, because it’s not our rules’

A couple embrace during a ceremony to mark the end of a makeshift memorial for victims of the Toronto van attack, at Yonge St. and Finch Ave. in Toronto on Sunday, June 3, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
‘I’ve been spared a lot,’ van attack survivor says as she watches trial alone

Court has set up a private room for victims and families of those killed in the Toronto van attack

A person enters a building as snow falls in Ottawa, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. Ottawa has been successful in limiting the spread of COVID-19 during its second wave thanks to the city’s residents who have been wearing masks and staying home, said Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
People to thank for Ottawa’s success with curbing COVID-19: health officer

The city’s chief medical officer said much of the credit goes to the people who live in Ottawa

Most Read