Taking in P.E.I.'s tulip fields will be different this year

For the past few years, people have happily wandered the tulip fields planted by monks with the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society in Heatherdale, P.E.I.The spot, burgeoning with colourful tulips, quickly became a popular destination for people to come and take a photo or two.Because of COVID-19, that won't be possible this summer, however, the monks have worked to come up with an alternative way for people to view the tulips. "Initially we're not able to open it to the public, but after we consulted with the Department of Health we were told that as long as we follow the guidelines and people respect social distancing, then we can do a drive-thru with everybody," said Venerable Dan, a monk who speaks for the society."People can come to the field and park their car and take a look at the flowers from different angles." > We're freeing it up for our visitors so everybody have to behave. — Venerable Dan, Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute SocietyVenerable Dan said each car will have a time limit of one hour to enjoy the flowers from inside the vehicle. He expects to have between 10 and 15 cars stop by each hour, which amounts to about 120 cars a day. "That's the best way to keep everyone entertained in a safe manner," Venerable Dan said. He said maintaining physical distancing and following the new rules to view the tulips will be up to the visitors themselves, as monks from the society will be observing their own isolation policies. "We're freeing it up for our visitors so everybody have to behave," Venerable Dan said.It only took three hours for the society's registration to fill up with Islanders interested in viewing the tulips, he said.While the society is looking to create new ways for people to enjoy their tulips, P.E.I.'s Vanco Farms is cautioning people not to enter their tulip fields.People are being permitted to snap a photo from their cars off the roadside, but are being asked to refrain from coming in large groups, in an effort to adhere to COVID-19 health measures. The society is also currently recruiting volunteers to help cut the flowers and deliver them to hospitals and long-term care homes across the Island, Venerable Dan said."If the flowers can last past June 1, then we might be able to open up more times for people to actually come in and get into the field," he said."So we've been praying pretty hard for that to happen." More from CBC P.E.I.

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