ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador is clamping down on travel to the province after reports of tourists arriving by ferry to view icebergs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald announced Wednesday that the new measures will take effect Monday.
Only people whose primary place of residence is in the province, asymptomatic workers in key sectors and people in extenuating circumstances who are pre-approved by her office will be allowed to enter.
Fitzgerald calls the restrictions an essential measure to protect the health and safety of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
The change follows reports of tourists going iceberg-hunting along parts of the province's coast.
On Tuesday, Health Minister John Haggie said earlier orders barring non-essential travel and requiring people to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival were not being respected.
"Looking for a boat at a wharf to take you out to an iceberg is not, in my view, essential," he said.
He added that there does not appear to be screening of passengers boarding Marine Atlantic ferries sailing to the province from Nova Scotia.
Haggie acknowledged some American tourists could be confused when they see tourism ads produced before the pandemic presenting the province as an idyllic destination.
When asked to summarize his message to tourists, Haggie drew on a local slang term for outsiders.
"I think for the moment, given the fact there's a pandemic, if you come from away, you best stay away," he said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 29, 2020.
The Canadian Press