Nova Scotia has moved into the second phase of its reopening plan, and Premier Iain Rankin says he aims to open the border to Atlantic Canadians on June 23.

“Our vaccination coverage is going up, our cases are coming down, and we’re ready to take the next step in easing restrictions,” Rankin says in a press release. “With Phase 2 of our reopening plan, more businesses are able to operate and Nova Scotians have more opportunity to get together socially. We are also able to open our borders to more travellers.”

Residents of New Brunswick, P.E.I., and Newfoundland and Labrador will be able to travel to Nova Scotia without self-isolating. Once a person from outside the Atlantic region has completed 14 days of self-isolation in one Atlantic province, they are free to travel to Nova Scotia without further isolation requirements.

People from elsewhere in Canada who own a seasonal residence or are moving permanently to Nova Scotia must fill out a check-in form and show border officials proof of residential status. They must also self-isolate for 14 days. People seeking to come to Nova Scotia for funerals can apply for an exception.

Effective today, government is easing the following restrictions provincewide.

Gatherings

  • Informal gatherings can have 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors without physical distance
  • Informal faith gatherings can have 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors plus officiants; drive-in services are still allowed with attendees following the informal indoor gathering limit in their vehicles
  • Informal weddings and funerals, and associated receptions and visitation, can have 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors, plus officiants
  • When faith gatherings, weddings, funerals and associated receptions and visitation are hosted by a recognized business or organization, they can have 25% capacity to a maximum of 50 people indoors or 75 people outdoors

Business

  • Restaurants and licensed establishments can operate indoors and outdoors at their maximum capacity with physical distance between patrons at different tables and a limit of 10 people per table; people must wear masks when not eating or drinking; one performer of live music is permitted; service must stop by 11 p.m. and establishments must close by midnight
  • All retail stores can operate at 50% capacity with no limit on the number of shoppers per household
  • Personal services such as hair salons, barber shops, and spas can operate by appointment only following their sector plan and can resume offering services that require removing the customer’s mask
  • Meetings and training hosted by a recognized business or organization can have 25% capacity to a maximum of 50 people indoors or 75 people outdoors
  • Driving schools and exams can resume
  • Events hosted by a recognized business or organization can have 25% capacity to a maximum of 50 people indoors or 75 people outdoors; organizers need a plan following guidelines for events

Recreation and sport

  • Fitness and recreation facilities such as gyms, yoga studios, pools, and arenas can operate at 50% capacity
  • A wide variety of recreation and leisure businesses and organizations, such as dance classes, music lessons, escape rooms, and indoor play spaces can operate at 25% capacity
  • Organized sports practices can involve up to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors without physical distancing
  • Audiences follow the gathering limits for events hosted by a recognized business or organization
  • Day camps can operate with 15 per group and following approved day camp guidelines
  • Activities such as darts, cards, and bingo can resume when hosted by either licensed or unlicensed establishments following guidelines for these activities

Arts and culture

  • Amateur arts and culture rehearsals and virtual or in-person performances can involve up to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors without physical distancing
  • Professional arts and culture rehearsals and virtual or in-person performances can involve up to 15 people indoors and 25 outdoors without physical distancing
  • Audiences follow the gathering limits for events hosted by a recognized business or organization
  • Drive-in movie theatres can continue to operate with attendees following the informal indoor gathering limit in their vehicles
  • Museums, libraries, and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia can open at 25% capacity

Continuing care

  • Community-based adult day programs for seniors and for people with disabilities can resume following guidelines for their sector
  • Long-term care residents can go for a walk off facility grounds and use drive-thrus when they go for a drive with a designated care provider; vaccinated residents can also access outdoor public areas such as a park
  • Recreational activities and personal services like hairstyling can resume for long-term care residents who are not fully vaccinated
  • Long-term care residents no longer need to be in the same groups for dining and group activities and volunteers can resume their activities

COVID snapshot
Nova Scotia has 97 known active cases of COVID-19, with four new cases (three in the Central Zone, where there continues to be “limited” community spread) and 29 recoveries reported in the latest government update. Six people are hospitalized in COVID units, including four in ICU.

As of June 14, provincial health officials have administered 705,565 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with 54,361 Nova Scotians getting the second dose that completes inoculation.

John Walters. Photo: Submitted

Blockhouse mourns a dedicated volunteer
Friends, family, and the firefighting community are mourning Blockhouse deputy chief John Walters, who died suddenly last month at age 43.

Walters, a married father of three, is best known in his community as a long-time volunteer firefighter, having served for about 15 years in Blockhouse. The department’s chief, Paula MacDonald, believes that long tenure reflects his giving nature.

“I just think everyone will remember his heart,” she says. “He had the biggest heart of anybody.”

Keith Corcoran has more for LighthouseNow.

Cape Breton musician advances in national competition
Inverness singer and guitarist Aaron MacDonald has advanced to the top 100 in CBC’s national Searchlight competition, which aims to spotlight Canada’s rising musical talents.

“I’m just trying to put some new music out there for people to absorb and I thought this was a great way to do this,” MacDonald says. “And lo and behold, we cracked the top 100. I was kind of shocked, but it was great.”

See Jake Boudrot’s story for The Reporter.

The Costa Concordia sinks. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Why smart people make bad choices
In 2012, the captain of the Costa Concordia turned off his navigation system and maneuvered the cruise ship close to the Italian shore, in notoriously rocky waters. The ship, as seems painfully predictable now, hit jagged rocks, and began filling with water.

Captain Francesco Schettino was an experienced and well trained mariner, but on this day, made one bad decision after another—failing to grasp the severity of the crash and when reality dawned, fleeing the ship while passengers and crew still struggled to escape.

In his latest Everyday Safety column, James Golemiec ponders why smart people can still make very bad choices.

“The crew also didn’t know what happened and they wouldn’t expect it to be a serious problem, either, since they’ve never before been in a sinking ship,” he says. “Psychologists call this ‘cognitive bias’—making decisions based on things that we have experienced in our past or based on the information that we already know.

Read more in Halifax Magazine.

Choosing sustainable seafood
If you pay much attention to the news, you’re probably starting to worry about the future of East Coast seafood. Want to make more environmentally responsible meal choices? Look for sustainable seafood. Lots of Atlantic Canadian harvesters are offering it—finding it just requires looking around and asking a few questions.

“There’s a degree of education that we all have to grapple with,” says Halifax Chef Andrew Farrell. “My family was from Newfoundland originally, so I remember stories of the cod fishery collapsing and just seeing an example of how overfishing can really devastate a place. Keeping that in mind and trying not to go back down that path, it’s important to have these conversations about sourcing and sustainability.”

Janet Whitman reports for East Coast Living.

Need to know
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Halifax Magazine