The PEI government has approved a three-step plan to navigate through COVID-19 restrictions, Premier Dennis King said Tuesday during a news briefing.
Step 1 is scheduled for Feb. 17, with further relaxing of restrictions, including no isolation requirements for travelers entering PEI who have had at least two doses of vaccine.
Step 2 will be mid-March and Step 3 is slated for April 7. This final step is when it is anticipated masking will no longer be required indoors, and there will be no limits on gatherings.
King said the plan is not a declaration that COVID-19 is over or that the province is saying “mission accomplished.” Rather, he said, it is a way to phase out restrictions while encouraging people to get vaccinated and be careful.
Dr. Heather Morrison, PEI’s chief public health officer, announced the island’s 13th COVID-related death, a person over the age of 80.
There are 264 new COVID-19 cases on PEI, and 1,819 active. There are nine people in hospital being treated for COVID-19, including one in ICU.
Morrison said 93 per cent of Island residents over 12 have had two doses of vaccine. She said 65 per cent of children five to 11 have had one dose.
King said it’s important to provide dates for people, even though they are subject to change.
“People who have been through this for a long time need to be able to see what that date is. April 7 doesn’t seem that far from today when you think about it.”
King said he expects many people will choose to voluntarily follow health measures after April 7. For example, he said he still plans to wear a mask when flying in an airplane.
“You don’t do something for two years the way we’ve done it and just brush it off and say it’s over.”