Cottages outside your community off limits this long weekend, Nova Scotia top doc says

Click to play video: 'N.S. top doctor says it’s not time to be visiting a cottage' N.S. top doctor says it’s not time to be visiting a cottage
Dr. Robert Strang says now is not the time to be visiting your cottage or hiking outside your community. But some are wondering why not, as long as you’re staying away from others. Alicia Draus reports. – May 19, 2021

The May long weekend is often a popular time for cottage goers. Whether it’s opening it up for the season, or just spending a long weekend relaxing, many Nova Scotians take advantage of their secondary properties this time of year.

But this year, thanks to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, Nova Scotians are being told to stay put.

“Chose one place and stay there,” said Dr. Robert Strang.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Nova Scotia extends shutdown until 2nd week of June

If Nova Scotians own a property or seasonal campsite outside their municipality, they can still use it by making a one-time trip and living there for the coming weeks rather than their primary home, but Strang says there are to be no back-and-forth trips.

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Some cottage owners say the rules are frustrating.

“I’m good with restricting numbers for gathering, I’m not [so] cool with restricting movement in the province,” said Alex Livingston, a Halifax resident who has a family property on Sherbrooke Lake.

“I would think being able to go to your cottage is not like anything else, because you could load up on groceries in HRM, drive straight to your cottage and be completely self-sufficient.”

Livingston points out that there could be less risk when people are at their cottage as they’re farther away from high-density areas where community spread is happening.

“They’re taking themselves out of the pool of risk that they’re in when they’re in the city and maybe running around doing more errands.”

Dr. Strang was firm on his messaging on Wednesday that travelling to cottages is unnecessary and not allowed.

Read more: Canadians following COVID-19 measures miss out on long weekend traditions

“It’s about movement of people. The more movement we have, the more chance the virus goes with you, and even if you might intend to go [straight] there, what happens if you get in an automobile accident or your car breaks down?” said Strang.
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While cottages are off limit, unlike last year, parks, trails and beaches are open.

“You’re allowed to travel to them only within your community to access,” said Strang.

While Halifax Regional Municipality has a vast network of trails and numerous beaches, HRM residents are encouraged to stick to what’s closest to them, though some say that’s not always happening.

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“Pretty unlikely,” said Chris Wilkenson who lives in the Sambro area near Crystal Crescent Beach.

“Definitely on the weekends if it’s sunny, it’s very busy here, no question. I think there would be a lot of people coming in from Halifax.”

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Because the beach is within the Halifax Regional Municipality, it’s not illegal for residents of HRM to go to, but it does go against the intent of the order.

While the Public Health Order defines community as your own municipality, Dr. Robert Strang has previously said for larger municipalities like Halifax, people shouldn’t be travelling outside their own smaller community.

“Don’t go across your the municipality just because you can,” he said on April 28. “So if you live in my community of Fall River stay in Fall River.”

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