With the province’s infection rate climbing daily, Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health for Nova Scotia, announced new gathering limits and bigger fines for rule-breakers.

The gathering limit outside of Halifax is cut to 10 people, indoors or out. The gathering limit remains five in HRM and the communities of Hubbards, Milford, Lantz, Elmsdale, Enfield, Mount Uniacke, South Uniacke, Ecum Secum, and Trafalgar.

The government is also asking people are also not to travel outside their local communities, except for essential travel, like work, school, child care, or medical and legal appointments.

“We are at a very serious crossroads,” Rankin says in a press release. “The virus is spreading and we need to stop it now. COVID-19 has found its way into every region of our province. This is one step to help stop that but more restrictions may become necessary in the coming days.”

Iain Rankin. Photo: CNS

The fines for breaking any part of the order under the Health Protection Act are doubling, with a first offence now drawing a $2,000 penalty.

Government is also asking employers to have people work from home whenever possible.

“We need to assume that all cases are variant cases and they spread more quickly and more easily,” Strang says in the press release. “People are becoming positive after having moderate exposure to someone with the virus and we didn’t see that during wave one or two.”

Strang and Rankin are scheduled to webcast an update today at 3 p.m.

66 new cases
Today, health officials are reporting 66 new COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia, the province’s biggest one-day increase since the pandemic began. Five Nova Scotians are hospitalized with the disease.

Nova Scotia has 263 known active cases of COVID-19. So far, the pandemic has killed 67 Nova Scotians.

Health officials are also reporting cases in nine more schools. Jubilee Elementary (Sydney Mines), Bedford South School (Bedford), Chebucto Heights Elementary (Halifax), Joseph Howe Elementary (Halifax), and Oxford School (Halifax) are closed for cleaning, and will reopen on April 28.

The other four infected schools are already closed until May 10. They are Atlantic View Elementary (Lawrencetown), Brookhouse Elementary (Dartmouth), Cole Harbour District High (Dartmouth), and Nelson Whynder Elementary (North Preston).

Travis Lindsay

A funny thing happened during the pandemic
When COVID-19 hit, and live bookings evaporated, local comedian Travis Lindsay vowed he wouldn’t do live shows.

But then he agreed to a Zoom session, and had a surprisingly good experience. It reignited his career, leading to more bookings and a This Hour Has 22 Minutes gig.

“For the first six or seven months, it was this big, awful struggle but thankfully, I am fortunate,” he says of his recent success. “I have this weird guilt because all this good stuff happened because of COVID. I’ve never had more things going on in a time when you are not supposed to have things going on. It’s an odd feeling.”

Ameeta Vohra profiles him for Halifax Magazine.

No money for Goldboro—Rankin
Premier Rankin supports the $10-billion US Goldboro Liquefied Natural Gas project, but his government won’t help fund it.

“There’s a partnership agreement with the Mi’kmaq community, and we would be fortunate to see something of that magnitude come to … Nova Scotia,” he says. “I know they have a request in to the federal government for consideration. They’re in a much better position to provide the kind of capital that’s requested.”

Drake Lowthers has more for The Reporter.

Jamie Richards, minutes before capsizing.

Kayaker survives perilous spill
When Jamie Richards sets channel markers on Lunenburg County’s Fancy Lake, he usually has a partner. This year, he went out alone in his kayak, a decision that almost cost him his life.

He capsized mid-lake and even with a life jacket, the 61-year-old, who describes himself as a weak swimmer, was unable to reach the distant shore. Fortunately, his wife saw the spill and called 911. Firefighters borrowed a neighbour’s boat, plucking him from the water after about 40 minutes.

“I was pretty cold; there were some shakes going on,” Richards says. “I’m not really a religious person, but I did have a brief conversation with the big guy above. And all I said was, ‘I’m not ready. I’m not ready to go yet.'”

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Canada’s best grilled cheese
Pictou County farmer Donna Rivers MacDonald recently won the Great Canadian Grilled Cheese Challenge, with a recipe showcasing Atlantic lobster. It’s a simple, classic combination of flavours.

“The sandwich is grilled and cooked with a liberal amount of butter, until crisp on the outside and melted in the middle,” explains The Pictou Advocate. “Are you hungry just thinking about this?”

John Thompson has details.

Need to know
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Halifax Magazine