Premier announces two-week shutdown

HALIFAX: Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, announced new restrictions across the province today.

The province said the following restrictions are effective 8 a.m. Wednesday, April 28, and will remain in effect until at least May 12.

The province said Nova Scotians can only gather indoors or outdoors with their household bubble, which is the people they live with, and households of two or less people can socialize with one or two others but they must be the same people for this two-week period. There is to be no unnecessary travel between communities and the province said community is defined as the home municipality, noting that people should stay as close to home as possible when accessing essential or necessary services or products.

All public and private schools are closed, but day cares will remain open, with the focus on providing service to those providing essential services or have no other child-care option, the province said.

There will be mandatory masking for staff, visitors and children over two years old in indoor child care settings, as well as outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained, including playgrounds and parks, according to the province government. In private indoor workplaces such as offices or warehouses, the province said masks are mandatory in all common areas, places where there is interaction with the public, areas with poor ventilation and areas where distance cannot be maintained.

Retail stores are closed for in-person service unless those stores provide services essential to the life, health or personal safety of individuals and animals, the province said, noting these stores can remain open at 25 per cent capacity. They said this includes those that provide: food; pharmaceutical products; medicine and medical devices; personal hygiene products; cleaning products; baby and child products; gas stations and garages; computer and cellphone service and repair; electronic and office supplies; hardware supplies; and pet and animal supplies.

Restaurants and licensed establishments are closed for dine-in service, but contactless take-out or delivery is allowed, the province said. Meanwhile Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation stores can remain open at 25 per cent capacity.

Personal services such as hair salons, barber shops and spas are closed, regulated and unregulated health professions can remain open with an approved COVID-19 plan, Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax and Sydney, and First Nations gaming establishments and VLTs must close, the province said.

Wedding and funeral ceremonies can have five people, plus officiants, but the province said there will be no social events, special events, festivals, arts/cultural events, sports events, faith gatherings, wedding receptions, or funeral visitation or receptions.

The province said there are to be no meetings or training except mental health and addictions support groups, which can have 10 people with physical distancing and masks.

Virtual gatherings and performances can be held with a maximum of five people in one location, but the province said all fitness, recreational and sports facilities are closed.

The province said licensed and unlicensed establishments cannot host activities such as darts, cards, pool and bowling and indoor fitness facilities like gyms and yoga studios and sport and recreation facilities like pools, arenas, tennis courts and large multipurpose recreation facilities are closed.

Businesses and organizations offering a wide variety of indoor recreation activities are closed, such as indoor play areas, arcades, climbing facilities, dance classes and music lessons, but the province said outdoor recreation activities, including individual sports, are allowed and encouraged, and outdoor fitness and recreation businesses and organized clubs can operate with a maximum of five people and physical distancing.

Museums, libraries and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia are closed, but libraries can offer pick-up and drop-off of books and other materials, the province said.

There will be no visitors or volunteers allowed inside long-term care facilities except for designated care providers and no visits to the community, the province said.

The province added that all adult day programs for seniors are closed, all homes licensed by the Department of Community Service under the Homes for Special Care Act cannot have visitors and residents cannot have community access, and all adult day programs for persons with disabilities funded by the Department of Community Services will be closed except for scheduled vaccine clinics at three of these programs.