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Province Further Eases Restrictions in Long-Term Care, Allows Some Large Gatherings, Sets Group Size for Before- and After-School Programs

Press Release

Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, announced today, Aug. 26, that Nova Scotia is further loosening restrictions for long-term care residents. This was one of several items announced as part of the COVID-19 pandemic response in Nova Scotia.

Residents of long-term care homes can now leave for medical appointments accompanied by family members and the cap on the number of people a resident can identify to visit indoors has been lifted. As well, community-based adult day programs can resume with an approved plan that meets public health guidelines. These programs are operated by independent community organizations and offer activities such as music, painting, exercise, crafts and games.

“This pandemic has been very difficult for residents of long-term care, as well as those who love and care for them,” said Premier McNeil. “With low case numbers, we can further ease some of the necessary restrictions that have been in place in long-term care, and on programming for seniors and adults living with disabilities. Residents need the connections with family and their communities for their physical and mental well-being.”

Other items announced today include:

  • before- and after-school programs are permitted to have cohorts or groups of 15 children without maintaining physical distance of two metres or six feet. Different groups of 15 must maintain physical distance. This is part of a host of measures in place for programs to operate safely, including masking, hand hygiene and increased environmental cleaning
  • government is working with four venues – Centre 200, Scotiabank Centre, Riverside International Speedway and Scotia Speedworld – on opportunities to host larger audiences than our current gathering limits allow. 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. The plan must include how they intend to keep each group separate in its own ‘bubble’ at the venue

“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,” said Dr. Strang. “COVID-19 will be with us for some time – that’s the reality we’re living in. As a province, we’ve done so well together. Please stay vigilant.”

Quick Facts:

  • there are 133 licensed long-term care facilities in Nova Scotia
  • there are three types of before- and after-school programs: programs offered by regulated child care providers, recreation-based programs offered by organizations like YMCA and EXCEL, and the Nova Scotia Before and After Program
  • the locations of the four venues are: Centre 200 in Sydney, Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Riverside International Speedway in Antigonish County, and Scotia Speedworld, near the Halifax airport
  • testing numbers are updated daily at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus
  • a state of emergency was declared under the Emergency Management Act on March 22 and extended to Sept. 6

Additional Resources:

Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus

Government of Canada information line 1-833-784-4397 (toll-free)

The Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24/7 to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, or someone concerned about them, by calling 1-888-429-8167 (toll-free)

Kids Help Phone is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free)

For help or information about domestic violence 24/7, call 1-855-225-0220 (toll-free)

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