The phases will see a gradual reopening of businesses and an increase in outdoor gathering limits starting next week, although people are still limited to socializing only with other people in their household in the first phase. Patios and outdoor dining will open on Wednesday. Meals inside are expected to resume between two and four weeks after this.
The reopening plan was revealed during a press briefing on Friday afternoon and is based on the epidemiology in the province as well as vaccination rates.
“We have very deliberately chosen higher vaccine targets than many other provinces,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of the province. “It’s important that we have a strong layer of protection against the vaccine as we go through our phases. “
As of Friday, 53% of eligible Nova Scotians had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Sixty-eight percent either received their first dose or made an appointment for their first dose.
Strang and Premier Iain Rankin also announced that students in parts of the province will resume classroom learning, while most areas of Halifax and Sydney will continue to learn from home.
The first reopening phase will begin on June 2 at 8 a.m., and will include:
- Restaurants and bars can open their outdoor patios, as long as there is six feet of distance between groups and a maximum of 10 people per table.
- Nova Scotians will be able to gather outdoors with a regular group of no more than 10 people.
- The limit for indoor gatherings remains the people you live with – two households with one or two people can still meet, but they must be the same two households each time.
- Non-essential retail stores can operate at 25% capacity, ensuring physical distancing.
- Residents of long-term care facilities may receive visitors outside – visitors should always wear masks but do not need to maintain a physical distance if the resident is fully immunized.
- Religious gatherings can be held outdoors with a limit of 10 people plus officiants when organized by a recognized organization. Drive-in services are permitted with no limit on the number of people who can attend.
- Wedding and funeral ceremonies remain limited to five people plus officiants if they take place indoors – if they take place outdoors, they are limited to 10 people plus officiants. Receptions and visits are still not allowed.
- Personal services, such as hair salons, barber shops and spas, can only operate by appointment and cannot offer services that require the client to remove their mask.
- Organized sports practices and fitness and leisure facilities can offer outdoor activities up to a limit of 10 people with physical distancing, or several groups of 10 distanced.
Travel will no longer be restricted in most of the province.
But people are still being asked to avoid non-essential travel within and outside the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and Halifax Regional Municipality, the two areas of the province where community spread is. confirmed.
“Slow and cautious approach”
Each phase has an overall duration of two to four weeks, depending on COVID-19 activity in the province, screening capacity, and hospitalization and vaccination rates.
“We’ve learned in Nova Scotia that a slow, cautious approach works, and that gets you going… we don’t want to confine again. It would be the worst possible thing, ”Strang said.
The second phase, which aims to have 60% of Nova Scotians receive a dose of the vaccine, will see restaurants open for indoor dining, provided they can continue to maintain a six-foot distance between tables. Retail stores, gyms and fitness facilities will be able to operate at 50% capacity.
In the second phase, movement within the province will no longer be restricted and the assembly limits inside will be increased to 10 people, including household members.
Outdoor gathering limits will increase to 25 people, as will sporting practices and artistic and cultural rehearsals.
The third phase, with a vaccination target of 65%, would see these companies extend their opening hours. After that, probably around the end of July if the number of cases and hospitalizations remain low, these businesses could open their doors during normal business hours.
“We can expect to have some level of restrictions all summer long until we have two-dose protection,” Strang said.
Opening of provincial borders
Tests for inbound travelers will be available at Halifax Stanfield International Airport starting June 14.
As part of the third phase, the province is considering a Canada Day target date for the potential reopening of the Atlantic bubble, but Strang said there was a lot of talk that will need to take place first.
Rankin said the four Atlantic premiers did not reach consensus on the bubble, but continued to have these talks.
By September, 75% of Nova Scotians are expected to be fully immunized, and that will be “living with COVID-19”.
Strang said he hopes this will mean very limited restrictions, except for “voluntary” public health measures like wearing masks.
Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick released their plans to reopen earlier this week.
Prince Edward Island hopes to open its borders to travelers from Atlantic Canada by June 27, while New Brunswick plans to open its borders to all Atlantic provinces except Nova Scotia on June 7.
1 new death, 40 new cases
Another person in Nova Scotia has died from COVID-19, making it the province’s 80th death since the start of the pandemic.
She was a woman in her fifties in the central health zone.
The province also reported 40 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total number of active cases in the province to 585.
Twenty-nine new cases are in the central zone, five in the east zone, four in the north zone and two in the west zone.
Fifty-three Nova Scotians are hospitalized with the virus, including 18 in intensive care, according to a statement from the Department of Health.
A month ago, the number of new daily cases was steadily increasing as a third wave of COVID-19 gripped the province.
The number of new daily cases peaked at 227 on May 7.
Atlantic Canada Case Numbers
- New Brunswick reported nine new cases on Friday. The province has 139 active cases.
- Newfoundland and Labrador reported 14 new cases on Friday and 96 active cases.
- PEI reported two new cases on Friday. There are 12 active cases.