TRURO – Further restrictions are being lifted with the news of going 17 days without a new case of COVID-19.

“We’ve now had more than two weeks with no new cases of COVID-19, and Nova Scotians are getting back to normal activities while maintaining precautions,” said Premier Stephen McNeil in a press reelase. “Continuing the core measures of physical distancing and hand hygiene is how we will keep our case numbers low, especially as we increase gathering limits and welcome Atlantic Canadian visitors to Nova Scotia.”

Effective July 3, if a recognized business or organization is planning an event outdoors, 250 people can attend with physical distancing rules in place. For an indoor event, the limit is 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 200, again with physical distancing.

Gatherings not run by a recognized business or organization, for example a family event in the backyard, are still subject to the 50-person maximum limit with physical distancing unless you’re in a close social group of 10.

The expanded gathering limits apply to social events, faith gatherings, weddings, funerals, and other cultural events, and arts and culture events like theatre performances, dance recitals, festivals, and concerts.

In addition, the following restrictions are being eased, effectively immediately:

  • restaurants and licensed liquor establishments can operate at 100 per cent capacity and serve patrons until midnight with appropriate distancing between tables. Patrons must leave by 1 a.m. They must continue to follow their sector plans.
  • private campgrounds can operate at 100 per cent capacity. They must continue to follow their sector plan.
  • public pools can reopen with physical distancing for lane swimming and aquafit classes, and one or more groups of 10 for other activities based on pool size. They must follow the Nova Scotia Lifesaving Society plan for change rooms and washrooms. It will take municipalities and other public pools time to prepare for reopening.
  • people living in homes funded by disability support programs can resume going out into their communities, although it may take time for homes to make arrangements.

The province is once again renewing the state of emergency. The order will take effect at noon June 28 and extend to noon July 12, unless government terminates or extends it.

Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, is recommending everyone wear a non-medical mask in situations where distancing may not be able to be kept, such as in stores, on public transit, or at gatherings. The exceptions are children under two or anyone who has a medical reason for not wearing a mask.

“Reopening our economy and society is important but it also increases risk, so it is paramount that we continue our public health measures to minimize a second wave of COVID-19,” said Dr. Strang. “That includes physical distancing as much as possible, good hand hygiene, cough etiquette, staying home if you’re sick, and wearing a non-medical mask when you’re in public places like the grocery store where physical distancing is difficult.”

To date, Nova Scotia has 52,553 negative test results, 1,061 positive COVID-19 cases, and 63 deaths, while 998 cases have been resolved.