Public health officials confirmed one new COVID-19 patient in Nova Scotia yesterday, raising the current tally to five known cases. Overall, the province has had 72,532 negative test results, 1,081 known cases, and 65 deaths.

Relaxing long-term care home restrictions
In yesterday’s media update, Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, announced further loosening of restrictions for long-term care residents.

Residents of long-term care homes can now leave with family members for medical appointments. Government has also lifted the limit on the number of people a resident can choose for indoor visits. Community-based adult day programs can resume (with plans that meet public health guidelines).

“This pandemic has been very difficult for residents of long-term care, as well as those who love and care for them,” McNeil says in a press release. “Residents need the connections with family and their communities for their physical and mental well-being.”

Gov allows some large gatherings
Strang and McNeil also announced that they’re allowing gatherings in excess of the 200-person public health limit at four sites: Centre 200 in Sydney, Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Riverside International Speedway in Antigonish, and Scotia Speedworld in Goffs.

“These four facilities will be able have a total audience that includes multiple groups: of 200 people for indoor events and of 250 people for outdoor events, but only if they meet strict criteria and have an approved, detailed plan,” says the government press release. “The plan must include how they intend to keep each group separate in its own ‘bubble’ at the venue.”

Despite relaxing restrictions, Strang urges Nova Scotians to remain wary. “Each change we make to our restrictions is a balance between the risk of COVID-19 and opportunities for us to safely resume important social, educational, and economic activities,” he says. “COVID-19 will be with us for some time, that’s the reality we’re living in.”

‘No going back to normal’
A recent consumer survey by several Truro area business groups, reveals big COVID-sparked changes in how Nova Scotians shop. Some results, like a jump in preference for online ordering and curb-side pickup, are unsurprising. But many business operators weren’t expecting to learn that most people support the pandemic-fighting public health rules and want them to continue.

“When 92% of people say they want businesses to be enforcing the physical distancing rule, that’s huge,” says Brennan Gillis, CEO of a local economic development group. “We have been trying to help some people realize that there is no going back to normal, so if they don’t take this seriously they’re going to lose customers. Raissa Tetanish reports for Hub Now.

Doris Mason

A music legend returns
We’ve all experienced the pandemic in different ways and music lovers’ unique hell has been a dearth of live shows. And that’s why fans are delighted that Nova Scotian blues legend Doris Mason is returning to the stage, performing a matinee show at the Salt Yard in Halifax on August 29.

It’s hardly surprising Mason would be keen to return to the stage. She’s been rolling with the punches in Nova Scotia’s live music scene for four decades. “I learned a long time ago, you have to trust what comes next,” she said in a 2019 interview. “You don’t know where music is going to lead you. One minute you’re chopping ice in your driveway, the next, you take a phone call and you’re off to New York City for six months.”

For more about Mason and her remarkable career, see this April 2019 Halifax Magazine profile by Marjorie Simmins.

Arsonist strikes Lunenburg Co. landmark
Investigators believe someone deliberately started that Aug. 7 fire at Oickle’s mill, an industrial landmark in New Germany. There was no electricity to the mill, there hadn’t been activity on the property for days, and someone saw a half-ton truck leaving the area shortly before spotting smoke and reporting the fire.

“It was suspicious, so I had the RCMP respond and take over the investigation,” says Blair Lantz, chief of New Germany’s volunteer fire department. Keith Corcoran has the story for LighthouseNow.

Treat your lawn right
Summer is not over but it seems inevitable it’ll end soon, so it’s time to start preparing your lawn for the winter. There’s more to it than just giving it a final mow and if you put in the work now, lush growth will reward you in the spring.

For example, your lawn doesn’t stop growing when summer ends, it just slows down. “That makes fall fertilizer season. Grass roots store nutrients in winter for a burst of spring growth”—learn more in this 2019 East Coast Living story by Denise Flint.

Reach out
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