Coronavirus Update #49 – new restrictions announced

This update was posted on the afternoon of December 21, 2021. The situation is evolving rapidly. Please check the CanadaNova Scotia, and Halifax websites for the most up-to-date information.

You can also check out my COVID-19 resources, (all of which will be updated in the next 48 hours) with information on current Government ResponseIndividuals & FamiliesBusiness as well as Links to Resources including key social media to follow.


 

Today, December 21, Nova Scotia is reporting 522 new cases of COVID-19.

The Province’s press release is here, but as a warning, both the routine press release and the province’s website are not up-to-date with the new restrictions announced today during the Premier and Dr Strang’s press conference.

The most positive thing I heard today during what can only be seen as a dark press conference was Dr Strang saying while case numbers are high, and hospitalizations have increased, we are not seeing exponential growth.

The steps taken last week have slowed spread, and the new restrictions announced today will further slow the spread, taking pressure off the health care system.

In March 2020 we first heard the idea that we need to “flatten the curve”, measures have to be taken before the virus hits us.  Once again we need to flatten the curve.

As we’ve said since March 2020 – To be effective, it will look like we are overreacting. We are going to look like we are overreacting. But unlike in March or summer 2020 – we know looking like we are overreacting works. 

Nova Scotia has been a leader in the world in dealing with this pandemic, and if and when we all follow these restrictions, we will continue to keep our community safe.

Our goal as a community is to slow the spread of the virus, to try and better match the health care system’s capacity to the number of urgent cases. Everyone will need to continue to do their part.

I will be updating my Coronavirus website with info as it becomes available (it has not been updated yet) – https://wayemason.ca/coronavirus/

HRM has updated the municipal website with impacts, including closures and reduced transit service: https://www.halifax.ca/fire-police/fire/emergency-management/coronavirus-disease-covid-19

I KNOW THIS IS HARD.  I was looking forward to a more normal Christmas too, but I am not going to see my parents, my in-laws, my nieces, or nephews now, because I love them I will not be trying to find a way around the rules.

We all need to do what we can to safely bridge the gap from now until widespread booster distribution in January.

Here is what we heard in the press conference today – as per the past lockdowns, the situation is rapidly evolving, and the written orders have not been posted on the Provinces website, so these notes may not be exactly what is put into force tomorrow.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, December 22 at 6 am until January 12 we will have these restrictions:  

From the Provincial press release (see it here) updated on this site Dec 21 – 7:20pm.

Physical distance and mask requirements

  • physical distance of two metres (six feet) is required indoors and outdoors, except among people in the same household or a consistent social group of up to 10 people
  • masks are required in areas of workplaces where physical distance cannot be achieved, as well as common areas, areas where people are serving the public and areas with poor ventilation
  • people must be seated to remove their mask for eating or drinking; at movie theatres, they must go to a designated area for eating and drinking
  • all other mask requirements for indoor public places remain, including wearing them when seated for other activities
  • individuals, businesses and organizations all have responsibility for ensuring mask requirements are followed and can all be subject to enforcement action.

Gathering limits

  • indoor and outdoor informal gatherings, typically at home, are limited to 10 people from the same household or consistent social group; physical distance and proof of full vaccination are not required; masks are not required except in indoor public places
  • only virtual events are allowed – there are no in-person events such as festivals, social events, special events (including receptions), sports games or tournaments, or arts and culture performances
  • a limit of 10 participants indoors and 25 outdoors applies to sports practices and training; physical distance is not required, and masks are recommended when possible indoors and outdoors; spectators are not allowed
  • a limit of 10 participants indoors and 25 outdoors applies to professional and amateur arts and culture rehearsals and virtual performances; professionals must have a plan for their workplace; physical distance is not required, and masks are recommended when possible indoors and outdoors; spectators and competitions are not allowed
  • Nova Scotia children ages 11 and younger continue to be restricted from participating in sports and arts and culture events outside the province
  • gathering limits of 25 per cent of capacity to a maximum of 50 people indoors and outdoors apply to regular faith services, wedding ceremonies, funeral ceremonies and their associated visitation, movie theatres, meetings and training that are hosted by a recognized business or organization, including faith organizations
  • regular in-person faith services can only have one person singing; no choirs or congregational singing are allowed
  • drive-in regular faith services are allowed with no limit on the number of vehicles; the informal gathering limit applies inside each vehicle
  • indoor and outdoor informal wedding ceremonies and faith gatherings, typically at home, are limited to 10 people from the same household or consistent social group, plus one officiant; physical distance and proof of full vaccination are not required; masks are not required except in indoor public places
  • indoor and outdoor funeral ceremonies with a maximum of 10 people, plus officiant and funeral home staff, are allowed without proof of full vaccination but masks and physical distance are required; proof of full vaccination is still required for any visitation
  • day camps can operate with groups of 15 campers, staff and volunteers following day camp guidelines.

Businesses

  • places like retail businesses, malls, museums, libraries and recreation and leisure businesses and organizations can operate at 50 per cent capacity with physical distance; some examples under recreation and leisure include dance and music lessons, climbing facilities, escape rooms, indoor play places, arcades, golf, shooting ranges and dog training
  • fitness and recreation facilities can operate at 50 per cent capacity with physical distance; personal training is allowed with as much physical distance as possible
  • personal services like hair salons can operate at the maximum capacity possible with physical distancing but cannot offer services that require removing masks
  • food establishments and liquor-licensed establishments can operate at 50 per cent capacity, they must have physical distance between tables; barriers may only be used to achieve 50 per cent capacity but not exceed it; there is a limit of 10 people per table; they must stop dine-in service at 11 p.m. and close by midnight; takeout, drive-thru and delivery can operate later; only one performer is allowed
  • Casino Nova Scotia and First Nations gaming centres can operate at 50 per cent capacity; people playing VLTs must be at least two metres (6 feet) apart; these gaming establishments must stop dine-in service at 11 p.m. and close by midnight
  • activities like cards, darts, pool, bowling and karaoke follow the rules for the setting where they take place, either in licensed establishments or recreation and leisure businesses
  • bingo follows the rules for licensed establishments when in that setting; bingo in non-licensed establishments is a special event which is not allowed.

Long-term care

  • a limit of two visitors at a time with long-term care residents; it must be the same two visitors all the time
  • it is strongly recommended that visitors have a rapid test within 24 hours of the visit if possible
  • visitors can have quick close contact like a hug but then need to stay physically distanced for the rest of the visit
  • the requirement for visitors to wear masks and be fully vaccinated, except for end-of-life visits, remains
  • even if they are fully vaccinated, residents can only leave the facility for medical appointments or for a drive in a facility or visitor’s vehicle with no stops and no contact with other people outside the facility
  • only residents who are eligible and have had a booster dose can access service providers for recreational activities and personal services like hairstyling
  • residents can attend regular faith services in the facility; the room can have 25 per cent capacity to a maximum of 10 people; only one singer; no choirs or congregational singing are allowed
  • if possible, residents should be in consistent groups for dining and activities.

Bottom line – stay home.  Limit your gatherings.  Be safe, be kind, be patient, help others as you can.

Take care of your mental health

It is ok to feel not ok!  The best ways to address concerns and support each other include:

  • listen and provide reassurance – it’s normal to have questions
  • get information from reliable sources
  • address questions and correct misinformation
  • watch for discrimination or bullying related to COVID-19
  • maintain normal routines and programming as much as possible

As always if you feel you are a risk of harm to yourself or others, you should call 911, or visit your local emergency department.

If not an emergency dial 8-1-1 to seek a nurse, visit your local emergency department or visit NS Health Psychiatric Emergency Department. For more information regarding where to seek help please visit NS Mental Health & Addiction page online.

For further assistance:

Mental Health & Addictions
NEED HELP NOW?
Mental Health Crisis Line
1-888-429-8167 (toll-free)
Available 24 hours, seven days a week

Kids Help Phone
1-800-668-6868 (toll-free)
Available 24 hours, seven days a week