Although an official date has not yet been set, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said Tuesday that the province is still in the process of reopening segments of its economy next month.
“Businesses continue to prepare. The reopening is approaching, “said McNeil at a press conference in Halifax.
McNeil said he was encouraged by the low number of COVID-19 cases reported in the province in the past week. As a result, he expects businesses that were forced to close at the start of the pandemic could open in early June, although an exact date has not been given.
Only two new cases of the virus were reported on Tuesday, and most of the 1,052 cases in the province have recovered, although the province has reported another death.
“We are seeing very positive signs around the COVID numbers,” said McNeil. “We will continue to watch them, but we will set a date by which we will have enough confidence and we will feel comfortable enough and we will communicate this to companies, giving them time to respond.”
McNeil said Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Robert Strang, continues to work with companies that have had to close in order to be able to reopen safely.
He said companies are developing their own reopening strategies, which must follow provincial public health protocols, and Strang will endorse those strategies.
“We want to make sure that our employers in this province have public health protocols in place so that when we reopen the economy they will make a business decision,” said the Premier.
“Those of you who have been asked to submit a plan to public health and who have not yet done so. Our follow-ups will continue with you, but we need your plan. “
The province also launched a new website on Tuesday to help businesses, organizations and services better understand COVID-19 restrictions and protocols as they develop their reopening plan.
McNeil acknowledged that Nova Scotia is slower than the other provinces, but expressed concern that the economy would have to close if there were another spike in cases.
“Other provinces have opened up part of their economies and have had to either close again or delay the rest of their opening plans as their cases of COVID have continued to increase,” said the Prime Minister.
“The last thing I want to do in this province is to shut down our economy again because we have rushed to reopen it.”
He reiterated that the COVID-19 restrictions will remain in place for some time and that testing will continue. Public health will monitor the reopening, monitoring potential outbreaks and hotspots.
“Do you remember when we said stay home?” We have come a long way since then, “said McNeil. “Let’s do our best not to go back. “