Nova Scotia

Household bubbles no longer required, playgrounds reopen as N.S. eases COVID-19 restrictions

As Nova Scotia marks a ninth consecutive day without any new cases of COVID-19, the province has loosened gathering restrictions effective as of Thursday and said playgrounds can reopen.

Two active cases in hospital, one in ICU

Six-year-old Xavier Gerrits and his mother Patricia are excited about the easing of restrictions in Nova Scotia, but say they will wait until the caution tape at the local playground is taken down before Xavier starts swinging and sliding again. (Craig Paisley/CBC)

As Nova Scotia marks a ninth consecutive day with no new COVID-19 cases, the province has loosened gathering restrictions and said playgrounds can reopen.

In a news conference Thursday, Premier Stephen McNeil said people may gather in groups of 10 without physical distancing. Those groups do not need to be exclusive, ending the need for household bubbles. 

"Effective today, we are bursting the bubble," McNeil said.

However, the province is encouraging people to maintain a consistent group for the 10-person gathering limit.

Groups of up to 50 are allowed but physical distancing must be observed. The premier clarified this could be done in or outside as long as people are able to remain two metres apart.

Halifax Regional Municipality says all municipal playgrounds are now open and that staff are working to remove the caution tape.

There were 580 COVID-19 tests done in Nova Scotia on Wednesday. Thursday marks the ninth day in a row for no new cases. (John Minchillo/The Associated Press)

McNeil said the next step will be to create an Atlantic bubble to allow travel among the four provinces. After that, restrictions for other Canadians could be loosened.

He did not offer a specific timeframe for an Atlantic bubble, other than to say it would be possible soon and the province could be opened up to the rest of the country sometime in mid-July.

"We have to be open to this because tourism is one of the most important industries," he said. "We need people to get back to work."

Anyone coming from outside of Nova Scotia must currently self-isolate for 14 days, but the premier said that will no longer be in place for people from P.E.I., New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador as the Atlantic bubble comes into effect.

The premier also warned that people still need to be vigilant and follow the rules in place.

"Until there's a vaccine we need to learn to live with COVID," he said, thanking Nova Scotians for following public health protocols.

Two active cases in N.S.

The province currently has two active cases of COVID-19 and both people are currently in the hospital. One of them is in the ICU.

The last new case was identified on June 9.

The QEII Health Sciences Centre's microbiology lab completed 580 Nova Scotia tests on Wednesday.

To date, Nova Scotia has had 1,061 positive COVID-19 cases. Sixty-two people have died from COVID-19 in the province.

The premier also offered an update on Nova Scotia's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang, who recently went to New Brunswick for a medical procedure.

McNeil said Strang is doing well and is self-isolating at home.

As Nova Scotia marks a ninth consecutive day without any new cases of COVID-19, the province has loosened gathering restrictions effective as of Thursday and said playgrounds can reopen. 2:30

Symptoms list

People with one or more of the following COVID-19 symptoms are asked to visit 811's website:

  • Fever (chills, sweats).
  • Cough or worsening of a previous cough.
  • Sore throat.
  • Headache.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Sneezing.
  • Nasal congestion/runny nose.
  • Hoarse voice.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Unusual fatigue.
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste.
  • Red, purple or bluish lesions on the feet, toes or fingers that do not have a clear cause.