Bar dancing gets green light as PEI lifts more COVID restrictions on St. Patrick’s Day

Dancing in bars is now allowed in Prince Edward Island as more COVID-19 restrictions are eased – including increases to gathering limits – just in time for St. Patrick.

Prince Edward Island entered Stage 2 of its COVID transition plan on Thursday. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison said while positivity rates at testing centers across the province increase, the impact on the healthcare system will be key to further changes.

“It should have a significant impact on our healthcare system, which we’ve always tried to protect. We need our healthcare system not just for COVID but for everything,” Morrison said. island morning Thusday.

“The next week or two will be very interesting as we monitor hospitalizations after a real spike in cases.”

The changes that came into effect on Thursday allow up to 75% capacity in bars and restaurants and no restrictions on table sizes.

And dance floors with “small social groups” are allowed.

Masks must always be worn except for eating and drinking.

A high immunization rate in the province has helped maintain PEI’s hospitalization rate. one of the lowest in the country,” says Dr. Heather Morrison. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

The number of people allowed to dance at wedding receptions and other organized gatherings is increased from 50 to 100.

The number of people allowed at indoor personal gatherings remains at 20, but outdoor personal gatherings can now accommodate up to 50 people.

Fitness centers, retail stores, casinos, museums and libraries can also operate at 75% capacity, up from 50% during Stage 1.

Organized sports and recreational activities, including artistic performances and card games, can have a maximum of 100 participants interacting over the course of a day. Previously, only 50 were allowed.

Travelers will continue to be tested at the Confederation Bridge and other points of entry. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Travelers entering P.E.I. will continue to be tested, but will transition to random testing.

Also taking effect today – vaccination or testing policies for frontline workers are also no longer needed.

The policies, implemented last October, applied to workers in schools, daycares, prisons, and long-term and community care facilities. Employers were required to regularly test all staff who were not vaccinated with two doses.

There was no response when CBC asked for more information about the public health orders.

The easing of restrictions comes three days after neighboring New Brunswick dropped all of its COVID restrictions.

Newfoundland and Labrador also dropped most of its COVID restrictions this week, although masks are still required in schools and health care facilities.

Nova Scotia restrictions remain similar to those in Prince Edward Island

Next step scheduled for April 7

The next step in the PEI transition plan. is scheduled for April 7, when masking, gathering limits and other restrictions are expected to be lifted.

The province still has work to do to make sure people get booster shots, Morrison said.

A high immunization rate in the province, along with good access to new treatments, has helped maintain the lowest hospitalization rate in Atlantic Canada and one of the lowest in the country, Morrison said.

As the province continues to ease restrictions, Morrison said people are going to have different levels of comfort.

“It’s part of us learning to live with it,” she said.

“Coming out of this pandemic will almost be harder than going into it.”

Recommendations still in place

Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious disease expert and researcher in the Department of Medicine at Dalhousie University, said with the easing of public health restrictions in the Maritimes, it is up to individuals to continue to protect themselves from COVID. -19.

She noted that health officials are still recommending people wear masks in public spaces, limit contact with others, stay home when sick, and take a COVID test before visiting. to vulnerable people.

“We are in the middle of a respiratory virus season, so if we want to keep a minimum number of people in hospital and sick with this virus, then we are going to struggle with that if we withdraw what is recommended.

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