26 Feb New Restrictions Announced
With cases rising, Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, announced today, Feb. 26, that tighter restrictions will return in areas of Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and some neighbouring municipalities.
“Our case numbers are rising again, and the situation is serious. We need to act swiftly to stop it from snowballing,” said Premier Rankin. “We are reintroducing restrictions in the Halifax area to limit opportunities for the virus to spread through social interactions. Across the province, everyone needs to stick close to home and be extremely vigilant with all the public health measures.”
Restrictions are returning in areas of HRM up to and including Porters Lake, as well as the communities of Enfield, Elmsdale, Mount Uniacke and Hubbards effective 8 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27, and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 26, with an extension possible.
The following restrictions will apply to communities listed at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/county-restrictions/ :
- restaurants and licensed establishments must stop service by 9 p.m. and close by 10 p.m.
- faith-based gatherings can have 150 outdoors or 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 100 indoors
- wedding ceremonies and funerals can have 10 people including the officiant but there can be no wedding receptions and no funeral visitation or receptions
- sports events, special events, arts and culture events and festivals are not permitted
- sports practices and training and arts and culture rehearsals can have 25 people without physical distancing but there can be no games, competitions, tournaments or in-person performances and there can be no spectators
- there can be no more than 25 people involved in a virtual performance, including performers and people managing the recording or livestream
- business and organized club meetings and training can have 25 people – physical distancing is required except when emergency responders need to be closer than two metres for training
- residents in long-term care homes can only have visits from their designated caregivers and can only leave for medical appointments or for a drive
Nova Scotians are also being asked to avoid all non-essential travel within the province and elsewhere, especially to and from the restricted areas of HRM, Hants and Lunenburg counties.
“We had hoped we would not be back in the situation where these restrictions are necessary. We understand that they are disruptive but they are absolutely critical to contain the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Strang. “Everyone needs to behave with the same caution as they did last spring when the virus first arrived in Nova Scotia. Everyone needs to get tested even if they only have one mild symptom.”
The following restrictions remain in place provincewide:
- the general gathering limit is 10 indoors and outdoors
- gatherings at a person’s home are limited to 10, including people who live there
- retail businesses and malls operate at 75 per cent capacity and follow other public health measures
- fitness facilities such as gyms and yoga studios operate at 75 per cent capacity and maintain three metres between people doing high-intensity activities, including indoor and outdoor fitness classes
- schools, after-school programs and child-care centres remain open following their respective sector plans
- libraries, museums, casinos and the Nova Scotia Art Gallery remain open following their respective plans
- adult day programs for seniors remain closed
People who do not follow the gathering limit can be fined. The fine is $1,000 for each person at an illegal gathering.
To protect Nova Scotia’s borders, additional testing will be in place for some groups who regularly travel. Effective Monday, March 1, three COVID-19 tests are required for rotational workers, specialized workers, and parents and children whose child custody visits involve travel outside Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island. A new child custody protocol details more requirements for visits and for situations where a parent or child has symptoms or a positive test result.
The definition of rotational and specialized workers is changing on Monday, March 1 to only include those who work in Canada. International workers are subject to the federal Quarantine Act.
More testing requirements are planned for other travellers.