Travelers on the move as NL reopens its border with the rest of Canada
The runways at St. John’s International Airport were soaked in fog Thursday morning, but a sunny heat filled the airport as travel restrictions eased and families and friends gathered outside , with many reunited for the first time in over a year.
Travel to the ground in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the province closed its borders in May. The province reopened to non-essential travel on Thursday, meaning it was the first time people from outside the Atlantic region could enter without exemption and 14-day isolation.
Public health measures are still in effect, as partially vaccinated travelers must test negative for COVID-19 or self-isolate until they do, while fully vaccinated travelers have no requirements test or isolation.
The day’s first flight touched down in St. John’s from Toronto just before 1:30 a.m. (NT) on Thursday, and was a welcome next step back to normal for Lisa Bragg.
“There is no magic button to get things back to pre-pandemic levels, but everything is a sign of hope and a sign of reopening and returning to normal,” Bragg, who is the director of business development and marketing for the St. John’s International Airport Authority, said St. John’s Morning Show.
“[Airlines] see an increase in the number of passengers on flights. But they are starting to measure up with fewer cancellations. No one ever thought this would be a measure of a flight’s success, but that’s where we are, “she said.
Bragg isn’t the only one excited to see planes take off the runway.
Allison Sharpe travels to Ontario for a month to visit her sister and eventually returns with a new puppy.
“It’s so much better,” Sharpe said when asked about the relaxed quarantine measures for inbound travelers.
“I can do my shopping, I can go for walks. Oh my God, I can see my friends. I probably need to be a little bit safe and take extra precautions, but just knowing that I don’t have to. going home and staying at my house for two weeks will be amazing. “
Stephen Janes was on his way to Prince Edward Island to visit his family, and it was his first flight since 2019. He wanted to wait for vaccination rates in the country to increase before traveling anywhere. or.
“So we’re both fully vaccinated so we’re okay with the change. But we’re just going to see family after a long time, almost two years now,” Janes said.
Its taxi driver Gary Campbell is also hoping to be on the move as more travelers come and go from the province, and thinks it will be a welcome boost for business.
“We had a lot of drivers who after the COVID came out stopped driving. So we don’t have as many drivers as before,” he said.
“You used to get 15, 20, 25 cars here at times when different flights come in from Toronto and Montreal. It’s been drastically reduced.”
Bragg said travelers in and out of the airport will have a different experience than the last time many people in the province have, as the terminal is closed to those who wish to accommodate travelers.
A drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinic has also been set up at the airport for travelers who need a COVID-19 test upon arrival.
“It’s really important to check the public health guidelines for this COVID test… Everyone agrees it’s a little different.”