Nova Scotia officials announced a series of new restrictions as it reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 Friday.
According to the province, nine of the new cases are in the Central Zone – five are close contacts of previously reported cases and three are under investigation.
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The other case is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada. One case is in Eastern Zone and is related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.
The person in both of these cases is self-isolating as required, said the province.
New COVID-19 restrictions announced amid uptick of cases
Premier Ian Rankin announced at a COVID-19 briefing Friday new restrictions for the Halifax area as the province continues to see a steady climb in cases.
Restrictions are returning in areas of the Halifax Regional Municipality (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.
An extension for those restrictions is possible.
Rankin said the restrictions include having restaurants and bars stop serving at 9 p.m. and close by 10 p.m.
Nova Scotians were also asked to avoid all non-essential travel, especially to and from restricted areas of HRM, Hants and Lunenburg counties.
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Additional testing announced to protect Nova Scotia’s borders
The province said 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.
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“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,” he added.
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In light of the new restrictions, the province said the general gathering limit is 10 indoors and outdoors, and if people 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, the province said.
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.
The full list of restrictions are listed at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/county-restrictions/
Due to a technical issue resulting in incomplete data, the province said that the COVID-19 dashboard has not been updated on Friday.
As a result, the number of active cases, resolved cases, and immunization data was not made available as of yet.
“The dashboard will be updated once all the information becomes available,” the province said in a release.
NSLC confirms one COVID-19 case
The new restrictions came after a spokesperson for the NSLC confirmed a case of the virus at its head office distribution centre complex in Halifax.
Beverley Ware said the company closed the building on Chain Lake Drive late Thursday to conduct a thorough cleaning and disinfecting process in response to the confirmed case of the virus.
She said the company has 30 employees per shift in the distribution centre and 280 in the head office, though not all at once.
“A number are on the road or working from home on a rotational basis,” said Ware of staff.
She also noted the distribution centre normally closes from 3 p.m Saturday until 7 a.m. Monday, so “this has a minimal impact on our operations.”
“We’re awaiting Public Health’s direction on what they require of us and we’re prepared to do anything to keep our employees safe,” she said.
Ware said the confirmed case and the closure of the building will not interrupt business for customers.
“Our stores do have a safety supply of inventory build in, so we don’t expect any company disruptions at this time,” she said.
The NSLC’s head office distribution centre is expected to reopen Monday.
HRM’s response to COVID-19
The Halifax Regional Municipality announced in a press release on Friday that new public health guidelines will take effect in the Halifax Regional Municipality as of 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 27.
According to HRM, spectators will not be permitted in any municipally-owned facility across the region as of Saturday.
In the affected areas of HRM up to and including Porters Lake, as well as the communities of Enfield, Elmsdale, Mount Uniacke and Hubbards, no games or tournaments will be permitted.
However, sport practices and training as well as organized arts and culture rehearsals will continue to be permitted with up to 25 people.
The municipality’s facility bookings for all Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE) schools in the affected areas will also be cancelled as of 8 a.m. Saturday.
In the meantime, fitness facilities will continue to be permitted to operate at 75 per cent capacity while maintaining three metres between people during high-intensity activities.
HRM said these new guidelines will continue until at least March 27, 2021.
For more information on municipal services during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit Halifax.ca/coronavirus.