The province is taking baby steps in easing off pandemic restrictions.
Beginning Monday (Feb. 7), Nova Scotians will be able to attend events and gatherings in higher numbers.
People still need to maintain their bubble groups of 10 but they can now do so in gatherings of up to 100 inside and 150 people outside.
That includes social, arts and culture events or sport and recreation activities. Faith gatherings, weddings with receptions, and funerals with visitation and receptions can also meet under the new limits.
Retail outlets and fitness facilities can now open to 75 per cent of their capacity as well.
The province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang says there’s good reason why there will be no change in the restrictions for bars and restaurants.
“Evidence tells us that late night social gatherings where alcohol and other substances may be involved present much higher risks than a youth club or a business meeting. That is why we can open up many types of gatherings but not all,” said Strang.
Bars and restaurants will need to maintain their existing gathering limits and stop service at 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m.
Sports teams can also continue to play against other teams they would routinely face but spectators can now be in the stands under the new limits.
But Strang says when it comes to school sports and concerts, families still need to stay home.
“Keeping the number of people in our school low has been an important part of our success in keeping our schools COVID safe,” said Strang. “Therefore we have to maintain the restriction that non-essential adults cannot be allowed into our schools at this time.
No new cases of COVID-19 are being reported today and Nova Scotia currently has eight active cases. Two people are being treated in hospital and one of those is in the ICU.
In one of his last messages as premier of Nova Scotia, Stephen McNeil cautioned people to continue to be responsible.
“This is a test for all of us,” said McNeil. “We’re keeping our cases down but the moment that we see a shift or a surge, a change in the number of cases, we will not hesitate to bring back restrictions. It really is up to all of us.”
Reported by Ed Halverson
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