Dr. Robert Strang. Photo: CNS

Yesterday, Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, announced new travel restrictions.

Starting April 22 at 8 a.m., people from outside Nova Scotia, P.E.I., and Newfoundland and Labrador can’t enter the province unless their travel is essential or they’re permanent residents.

“This is not the time for people to come to Nova Scotia for anything other than essential travel,” Rankin says in a press release. “Given that the pandemic is now being driven by variants that transmit more easily, this … is necessary to protect Nova Scotians.”

Here’s how the government defines essential travel.

  • People who live in Nova Scotia but their primary employment is in another province
  • Federally approved temporary foreign workers
  • People who need to participate in-person in a legal proceeding in another province
  • Post-secondary students coming to study in Nova Scotia
  • Post-secondary students returning to their primary or family residence in Nova Scotia and parents who accompany them
  • Parents picking up a student in Nova Scotia to take them home as quickly as possible
  • People who can prove they already have a new permanent address in Nova Scotia as of April 21 and are moving here permanently
  • People travelling to follow a child custody protocol
  • People who are exempt from self-isolation following the exempt traveller protocol
  • People travelling between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for work, school, or children in child care, following the standard travel rules

“We won’t turn away permanent residents of Nova Scotia if they travel, but we are giving strong direction to not travel unless it is absolutely necessary,” Strang says. “This is a critical time for us to cut off travel-related cases at the source. I am asking all Nova Scotians to put their plans aside and follow this direction.”

He adds that officials are still working out the details on further requirements for people who must isolate after essential travel.

Also, rotational workers must now fully isolate when they first arrive in Nova Scotia. Once they receive their first negative test result, they can switch to modified self-isolation. Specialized workers are only allowed for critical infrastructure work.

Travel from outside of Atlantic Canada isn’t allowed for funerals for the next four weeks. Health officials will consider requests for visits on a case-by-case basis, but will only approve them “under exceptional circumstances for end-of-life visits.”

COVID in three Dartmouth schools
Nova Scotia has 68 known active cases of COVID-19, with nine new cases (six the Central Zone, two in the Western, one in the Eastern) reported in the latest government update. Health officials have also reclassified two previously known cases as the U.K. variant.

Testing has revealed three cases in Dartmouth schools: one each at Dartmouth South Academy elementary, Auburn Drive High, and Mount Edward Elementary. All three schools are closed until April 26 for cleaning and testing.

As of April 19, health care workers have dispensed 216,018 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the province, with 32,877 Nova Scotians getting the second dose that completes their inoculation.

So far, COVID-19 has killed 67 Nova Scotians, and 23,713 Canadians.

Photo: Bigstock

Better days ahead
More than a year since it began, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to loom over Nova Scotia, a province left raw and saddened by last year’s mass shooting.

“[We’ve] felt unable to escape the pervasive presence and pressure of the global pandemic, unable to escape a miasma of fear and uncertainty, which in turn, created a sustained stress,” says writer Steven Laffoley. “And that stress slowly sapped a sense of optimistic purpose.”

But as spring dawns, he urges readers have faith that there are better days ahead.

“We needed to fully embrace the promise of this spring,” he says. “In the best of times, spring provides the proverbial antidote to Nova Scotia’s long winter malaise. But this year, following the longest winter of our lives, the warming weather and increasing sunlight have never been more welcome nor more important.”

See his new essay in Halifax Magazine.

Money for First Nations housing crisis
The federal government recently announced plans to address housing shortages in Cape Breton First Nations communities, with about $3.16 million to build 24 units of affordable housing in Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation and We’koqma’q First Nation.

“We’re looking at 12 units apiece of modular housing that goes up pretty quickly,” says local MP Mike Kelloway. “The whole goal with this housing is to build affordable, accessible, safe housing very quickly.”

Community leaders welcome the move. “I know housing is not just a problem here in Paqtnkek but across First Nation communities in Canada, this is a great step moving forward,” says Paqtnkek’s Chief Tima Francis. “This will be great for single people or single parents because they often get overlooked on getting homes, which normally go to the bigger families who are in need… It will be a great start on putting a dent in our housing problem.”

Jake Boudrot has more for The Reporter.

Photo: LighthouseNow File

Bridgewater teen charged after crash
Police say a 17-year-old who crashed his Pontiac Wave into another driver in downtown Bridgewater, badly injuring both her and his passenger, was travelling at about 100 km/h and had been drinking.

The youth, who media can’t name because of his age, faces two counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and four infractions under the provincial Motor Vehicle Act (careless driving, driving left of a double solid line, stunting, and breaching the zero blood-alcohol level condition attached to a newly licensed driver).

Keith Corcoran reports for LighthouseNow.

Make your yard a haven
It seems likely Nova Scotians will once again spend much of their summers at home, which has many looking for ways to make their yards more functional and inviting spaces. One way to do that is lightscaping, which makes your yard more attractive, and usable after dusk.

Find simple DIY tips in this Carol Matthews story from the free East Coast Living archives.

Need to know
Know a community group, good cause, or inspiring local story we should share? Email the editor.

Halifax Magazine