Some provincial restrictions eased, new restrictions in place ahead of holidays

Dr. Robert Strang and Premier Stephen McNeil sit at a long table at a press conference with six Nova Scotia flags behind them.
Dr. Robert Strang and Premier Stephen McNeil announce new COVID-19 restrictions for Christmas. Photo courtesy of the Nova Scotia government.
Ed Halverson - QCCR - LiverpoolNS | 16-12-2020

Nova Scotia will have new COVID-19 restrictions beginning Dec. 21 but family members will be allowed to visit over the holidays.

Premier Stephen McNeil says while they are relaxing some restrictions to allow relatives to travel, it’s important people still follow COVID-19 protocols.

“You can travel from A to B. Which essentially means, if your family lives in a different community you can go visit your family at Christmas. You can have up to 10 people, total in your gathering,” said McNeil. “When you get there, stay there. We’re doing this because we know how important it is for families to be together at this time.”

Long-term care residents will have their restrictions eased to allow two designated caregivers to visit. Facilities can also allow a limited number of visitors

A number of new restrictions are coming into place.

Social or special events, festivals, arts/cultural events and sports events are all cancelled.

Faith gatherings, wedding ceremonies and funeral services up to a maximum of 150 people outdoors or 100 indoors are allowed but wedding and funeral receptions are not.

People can gather in groups of up to 10 in their homes, including the people who live there.

They can also gather with up to 10 people in a close social group.

Restaurants and licensed establishments must stop service by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m.

Fitness and sport and recreation facilities can open but must restrict the number and proximity of participants.

Retail and shopping mall rules currently in place for areas of HRM and Hants County will extend to the entire province, including operating at 25 per cent of their capacity.

A complete list of the new restrictions is available at this link.

The Province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang says now is not the time to undo all the good work we’ve done just so we can enjoy a holiday they way we are used to.

“We’ll get back there. I’ve said it before, I’d like to have everybody who is here today in Nova Scotia be around next year in Nova Scotia to celebrate Christmas in a different way, to celebrate our holidays in a different way. But to do that, we need to make sure that we’re all safe so we don’t lose people along the way.”

Strang and McNeil were present as the first group of Nova Scotians received the COVID-19 vaccinations in Halifax Wednesday.

Strang said the amount of collaboration that took place to enable this to happen is moving for so many.

“Three weeks ago we weren’t sure how we were going to do the vaccination. We’ve come so far in three weeks. And to see, both in the health system and across government, everybody put up their hand and say what can I do to help?”

Strang reminded people that getting vaccination to every Nova Scotian who wants it will be a long road and COVID-19 restrictions need to be stay in place in the meantime.

He recognizes people are getting tired but he hopes they can take inspiration from the sacrifice of others.

“Think about the healthcare workers in this province who are willing to say, I’m not going to have Christmas with my family like I had planned because I need to be there helping people get immunized. They are there, sacrificing for you. What we are asking the people to follow is not too much to ask given what other people are doing to help you be safe.”

The new restrictions come into effect Dec. 21 and will remain in place until Jan. 10.

Reported by Ed Halverson 
Twitter: @edwardhalverson