P.E.I. to remain closed to non-residents as COVID-19 restrictions eased

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Every summer, Cavendish, P.E.I., transforms from a sleepy seaside village of just 300 residents into a resort area teeming with thousands of tourists trying to connect with the red shores and shining waters described in Anne of Green Gables.

But this summer, hotels and beaches will remain quiet and empty, thanks to the province's COVID-19 restrictions — a scene Dan James, owner of Kindred Spirits Inn and Cottages, says will be unfamiliar and eerie.

"Having grown up there and having lived year-round there for a lot of my life, come the middle of September it becomes a ghost town, so it's going to be really strange to have that ghost-town feeling in the middle of June."

James says he has cancelled any plans to see customers in May and June because of the pandemic, as 97 per cent of his business comes from visitors who now cannot travel to the Island.

"We are looking at significant losses of bookings. They just stopped at the end of February and the cancellations have piled up since then," he said.

"We've lost a significant portion of our business."

No entry to non-residents

Prince Edward Island will remain closed to non-residents for the foreseeable future as it begins easing COVID-19 restrictions — a measure that is protecting P.E.I. residents but blocking one of the province's biggest industries.

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King has announced a four-phase plan that will start with limited expansions of freedoms and build up to restaurants and many other businesses and services reopening by mid-June.

Phase 1 of the plan begins Friday, allowing some elective surgeries and health screenings to resume as well as gatherings of up to five people outside at two-metre distances. Recreational activities like golf and fishing can also resume.