COVID-19 Atlantic bubble on hold as 2 provinces pull out; Toronto, Peel in lockdown

PEI, Newfoundland and Labrador create an ever deeper Atlantic bubble to control COVID-19 as new restrictions and job closures hit Ontario one month after public health effort overwhelmed by the virus

The Canadian Press

Two provinces are temporarily withdrawing from the Atlantic bubble in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, while tighter restrictions — including short-term lockdowns — take effect today in parts of Ontario.

Anyone travelling to Newfoundland and Labrador from the Atlantic region will have to self-isolate for 14 days starting Wednesday, just like visitors from other parts of the country.

Prince Edward Island, meanwhile, is barring all non-essential travel to to the province for two weeks.

The two provinces, along with with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, were part of the so-called Atlantic bubble that allowed Atlantic residents to travel freely within its borders without isolating.

Stricter limits on social gatherings are also taking effect in the Halifax region and a neighbouring county today.

Meanwhile, two major urban centres in Ontario where COVID-19 cases have been surging have now entered the lockdown stage of the province's pandemic protection plan, and will remain there for at least 28 days.

As a result, all non-essential retailers in Toronto and Peel Region are reduced to curbside pickup only, and restaurants are limited to takeout and delivery orders. Personal services such as hair salons are also closed, but schools and child-care centres remain open.

Other areas of Ontario, which reported 1,589 new cases of COVID-19 and 19 new deaths on Monday, are also seeing tighter restrictions as they move to higher alert levels under the province's colour-coded plan.

Quebec, another province hit hard by the pandemic, reported 1,164 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 more deaths on Monday.

Over the weekend, four provinces — Ontario, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Alberta — reported new records in daily infections.

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