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Nova Scotia hopes mandatory masks rule creates ‘standard’ without need for enforcement

Atlantic Canada sees freer travel and mandatory masks
VIDEO: With just a few new cases in recent weeks, provinces in Atlantic Canada are once again changing their COVID-19 rules. In New Brunswick, officials are loosening travel restrictions, while Nova Scotia has decided to mandate masks in public spaces to ensure the virus remains suppressed. Ross Lord reports.

Nova Scotia’s premier and the province’s chief public officer of health say the mandatory use of masks in public buildings will create a “standard” for residents of the province despite the rule not being actively enforced.

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s top doctor, said they are not downloading the enforcement of the mandatory mask rule onto front-line workers in restaurants or stores.

Read more: Nova Scotia mandatory masks rule takes effect Friday

Instead, he said he believes the mandatory order will convince Nova Scotians that it is important for their health as well as the health of their friends, families and loved ones.

Coronavirus: Nova Scotia makes wearing masks mandatory in public buildings
Coronavirus: Nova Scotia makes wearing masks mandatory in public buildings

Friday was the first day of the province’s new rule around the mandatory use of masks in public buildings, which include retail businesses, shopping centres, restaurants and bars, places of worship, event and conference centres as well as common areas in office buildings.

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Although the mask order will not be strictly enforced, Premier Stephen McNeil said the province can still issue fines under Nova Scotia’s Health Protection Act.

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It’s an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus and ahead of any potential second wave of the virus.

Coronavirus: Nova Scotia reports 2 new COVID-19 cases related to travel outside Canada
Coronavirus: Nova Scotia reports 2 new COVID-19 cases related to travel outside Canada

When the mandatory masking rule was announced last week by Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, the premier called the move “the added protection we are going to require as we open ourselves up to the rest of the country.”

After a cabinet meeting Thursday, the premier said he had no date when Nova Scotia would open to provinces outside the Atlantic Bubble.

That hasn’t stopped speculation about the impending opening of the province.

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However, on Friday McNeil said the decision remains a while off.

Read more: Nova Scotia mandatory masks rule takes effect Friday

On Friday, the province announced two new cases of the virus, both of which are related to Nova Scotians who travelled outside Canada.

The individuals have been self-isolating since they returned to the province, health officials said in a press release.

The province says 1,003 cases are now considered resolved and as of Friday there are only two active cases in the province.

There have also been 64 COVID-19. related deaths in Nova Scotia.