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Newfoundland and Labrador closes doors

Monday, May 04, 2020 @ 3:49 PM | By Terry Davidson

Newfoundland has closed its borders to outsiders in further efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s chief medical officer of health has ordered that people be barred from entering the province, save for residents, asymptomatic “workers and individuals who are subject to the Updated Exemption Order” and those allowed entry because of extenuating circumstances.

The order, which was made under the Public Health and Promotion Act, is effective May 4.

Last week, during an April 29 news conference, Chief Medical Officer of Health Janice Fitzgerald said those from outside Newfoundland and Labrador who do not fall under the exemptions “will be prohibited from entering our province.”

“The measures are necessary to further protect the health and safety of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians as we navigate the next phase of living with COVID-19,” she said.

At a May 4 news conference, Minister of Health and Community Safety John Haggie was asked if the province had considered the mobility rights of both tourists and those from outside the province who have summer properties there.

“The short answer to that is, yes, we have, and if you look at … the Public Health and Health Promotions Act, it actually specifically references the need to keep the Charter in mind when making any of these decisions,” said Haggie. “We feel, given the recommendations from the international as well as the Canadian community, this is entirely consistent with public health imperatives, and indeed we would probably be the third Canadian jurisdiction to do this, following New Brunswick and P.E.I., who’ve also been very successful in keeping their curves flat, and also the province of Quebec.”

Newfoundland and Labrardor had 259 cases of COVID-19 and has reportedly experienced three virus-related deaths. 

On March 18, the province declared a public health emergency as a result of the pandemic. It currently sits at an “Alert Level 5,” which calls for widespread economic shutdown and social distancing.

Like other provinces and territories, residents of Newfoundland and Labrador are being discouraged when it comes to non-essential travel outside the province.