Advertisement

Nova Scotia reports 4 new coronavirus cases, new restrictions put in place for holidays

Click to play video: 'Nova Scotia introduces new COVID-19 restrictions for the holidays' Nova Scotia introduces new COVID-19 restrictions for the holidays
WATCH: Restrictions are being extended until early next week in the Halifax area. As Jesse Thomas reports, Nova Scotia has revised its gathering limits in time for the holidays – Dec 16, 2020

Nova Scotia reported four new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and said 55 active cases of the virus remain in the province.

According to the province, all cases are in Central Zone. Three of the cases are close contacts of previously reported cases. The other case is under investigation.

Click to play video: 'First COVID-19 vaccine distributed in Nova Scotia' First COVID-19 vaccine distributed in Nova Scotia
First COVID-19 vaccine distributed in Nova Scotia – Dec 16, 2020

READ MORE: COVID-19 vaccine clinics to start Wednesday in three of four Atlantic provinces

Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, announced Wednesday that current restrictions in areas of Halifax Regional Municipality and Hants County are being extended, and new restrictions will be in place province-wide over the holidays to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Nova Scotia allowing up to 10 people to gather for holidays, but strongly discourages travel' Coronavirus: Nova Scotia allowing up to 10 people to gather for holidays, but strongly discourages travel
Coronavirus: Nova Scotia allowing up to 10 people to gather for holidays, but strongly discourages travel – Dec 16, 2020

The new restrictions are as follows:

  • The current restrictions in areas of Halifax Regional Municipality and Hants County are extended until 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 20
  • The closure of restaurants and licensed establishments for dine-in service in these areas is extended until 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 10; they can continue to offer takeout and delivery service
  • The Halifax casino will also remain closed until 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 10
  • New province-wide restrictions for gatherings, businesses and activities, as well as changes to long-term care restrictions, will start Dec. 21 and be in place until Jan. 10.

“We know the holidays are traditionally a time for a lot of socializing with family and friends, but we also know that gatherings can allow the virus to spread rapidly,” said Premier McNeil in a press release. “We ask Nova Scotians to find new ways of celebrating this season while respecting these restrictions that are designed to keep our social gatherings small and our communities safe.”

Story continues below advertisement

Restrictions put in place provincewide

According to the province, effective 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 21 to 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 10, the following restrictions are in place province-wide:

For gatherings and events:

  • Gatherings in your home can have 10 people total, including the people who live there
  • People can have a close social group of 10 without physical distancing
  • Social events, festivals, special events, arts/cultural events and sports events are not permitted
  • Faith gatherings, wedding ceremonies and funeral services can have a maximum of 150 people outdoors or 50 per cent of an indoor venue’s capacity, to a maximum of 100
  • Wedding and funeral receptions are not permitted
Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Nova Scotia begins administering vaccine to health-care workers' Coronavirus: Nova Scotia begins administering vaccine to health-care workers
Coronavirus: Nova Scotia begins administering vaccine to health-care workers – Dec 16, 2020

For businesses:

  • Restaurants and licensed establishments, outside the areas of HRM and Hants County noted above, must stop service by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m.
  • Fitness and sport and recreation facilities can open
  • Fitness facilities like gyms and yoga studios can operate at 50 per cent capacity and must ensure three metres distance between participants during high-intensity activities
  • Outdoor fitness classes can operate at full capacity and must ensure three metres distance between participants during high-intensity activities
  • Personal services such as hair salons and spas can resume providing services that can only be done if the customer removes their mask, such as facials
  • Retail and shopping mall rules currently in place for areas of HRM and Hants County will extend to the entire province, including operating at 25 per cent of their capacity; their food courts can remain open with public health measures in place including physical distance between tables

For sports, museums, libraries and long-term care:

Story continues below advertisement
  • Sports practices, training and arts and culture rehearsals are limited to 25 participants without physical distancing but games, tournaments and performances are not permitted
  • The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, museums and libraries can reopen at full capacity with physical distancing and other public health measures in place
  • Each long-term care resident can have two designated caregivers and facilities can allow a limited number of visitors
Click to play video: 'Nova Scotians to begin receiving COVID-19 immunizations' Nova Scotians to begin receiving COVID-19 immunizations
Nova Scotians to begin receiving COVID-19 immunizations – Dec 15, 2020

“We want to let people have their holiday with loved ones but this holiday needs to be different to keep everybody safe,” said Dr. Strang. “We need to keep gatherings small, pull back on our social activity, and avoid crowds in the retail sector so that we don’t give this virus the opportunity to spread.”

The province also said that it is working with the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia on a pilot project for an app that dine-in restaurants and licensed establishments can use to collect patrons’ contact information for contact tracing.

Story continues below advertisement

“This will help standardize collection practices, ensure privacy of information, and reduce the burden on businesses,” said the province.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia hopes to immunize 70 per cent of residents, provides rollout plan

The Department of Business said it is giving the association up to $100,000 for the project.

Since Oct. 1, Nova Scotia said it has completed 91,747 tests. There have been 341 positive COVID-19 cases and no deaths. No one is currently in hospital.

Two hundred and eighty-six cases are now resolved, said the province.

Sponsored content