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Nova Scotia to require proof of vaccination for non-essential and leisure services

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N.S. to require proof of vaccination for non-essential services
WATCH: Nova Scotia will require proof of vaccination for non-essential and discretionary services as of Oct. 4. That means people aged 12 and older won’t be able to dine out, exercise in a gym, go to a movie or attend a concert without being fully vaccinated. Callum Smith reports. – Sep 8, 2021

Nova Scotia announced Wednesday that proof of full vaccination will be required for non-essential, discretionary, recreation and leisure services and activities on Oct. 4.

As of that date, proof of full vaccination will be required for Nova Scotians who are 12 or older to participate activities such as dining out, going to a fitness facility, or going to a movie, theatre performance, concert or sporting event.

Read more: COVID-19: Nova Scotia reports 29 new cases over long weekend

“The proof of vaccination requirement does not apply to children 11 years of age and under because they are not eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” said the province in a release.

The province is also making some changes to border and self-isolation requirements effective Thursday at 8 a.m.:

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  • International travellers will no longer have to fill out the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in form because the federal government has increased monitoring their compliance with the Quarantine Act.
  • The isolation requirement for unvaccinated domestic travellers changes from 14 days to a minimum seven days; to stop isolating after seven days, they will need two negative test results, the same as travellers who have one dose of vaccine.
  • People who are identified as close contacts of COVID-19 cases and have had two doses of the Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca vaccines, or a combination of any two of them, are considered optimally protected and do not have to self-isolate unless otherwise directed by public health.
  • People who have had the one-dose Janssen vaccine or one or two doses of any other WHO-approved vaccine can become optimally protected if they get an additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine; an additional dose will be made available to anyone who meets any of these criteria and can be booked online or by phone.

Nova Scotia entering Phase 5

The province announced that it will move into Phase 5 of its reopening plan at 12:01 a.m. on Sept. 15.

During this phase, wearing masks in indoor public places will no longer be mandatory but remain strongly recommended when people gather in indoor places. Other public health measures, like gathering limits and physical distancing, will also be lifted.

Healthcare facilities will continue to set their own policies for masks and visitation.

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Read more: Over 100 gather in Halifax to oppose proposed vaccine passport in Nova Scotia

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Halifax ICU doctor develops device to help COVID-19 patients

“Nova Scotians have stepped up in recent weeks and we are so close to our minimum target of 75 per cent fully vaccinated that we are confident we can move into Phase 5 safely on Sept. 15,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, at a COVID-19 briefing Wednesday.

Businesses and other organizations are also free to set their own mask policies. Masks will be required in schools until Sept. 20 to allow students, staff and teachers time to transition to Phase 5.

Border measures will remain in place.

Nova Scotia Liberal Party Leader Iain Rankin released a statement saying “this is what the Nova Scotia Liberal Party staunchly advocated for to keep Nova Scotians safe when Covid-19 cases started to rise in other parts of the country and to keep businesses open in the wake of a fourth wave.”

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“I’m pleased to see Premier Houston is following our lead,” he added.

New cases

Nova Scotia reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Nine of the new cases are in the northern health zone and all are close contacts of previously reported cases, the province said in a release.

Three are in the central zone. Two are related to travel and one is under investigation.

One is in the western zone and is under investigation.

Read more: N.S. parents of child with lung disease say more learning supports needed for vulnerable students

And one is in the eastern zone and is a close contact of a previously reported case.

There are now 61 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of those, one person is in hospital in a COVID-19 unit.

Nova Scotia Health labs completed 2,229 tests on Tuesday.

According to the provincial COVID-19 dashboard, 78.2 per cent of Nova Scotians have had one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 71.7 per cent are fully vaccinated.

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