'Slow and methodical': Strang says plan to reopen Nova Scotia is in the works
There are no firm dates set at this time, but the Nova Scotia government says a reopening plan is under development.
"We must take a slow and methodical approach if we are to safely bring Nova Scotia back to normal," said Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health.
"No decisions have been made. We are working on a reopening plan that balances public safety with the need to increase economic and social activity. The first phase is still some weeks away."
While there are no timelines in place, the province says reopening will be done in phases, over time. Each phase could last a minimum of 28 days.
During a presentation by Strang on Friday, he said the first phase of reopening would consist of some businesses and non-urgent health care services reopening.
After that, businesses would reopen depending on their risk factors and larger gatherings would slowly be permitted.
"The plan itself is very cautious and I understand why, but factually, it's simply not going to work for business,” said Sue Uteck, with the Spring Garden Area Business Association.
Uteck says the longer businesses stay closed, the more help they will need.
"Of course everyone would like everything open 100 per cent, but I'm not the medical expert in this and neither are my members,” said Uteck. “We're gonna have to just follow the guidelines, but in order to follow those guidelines, we'll continue to need help.”
Many businesses have been closed for nearly eight weeks due to the COVID-19 panedmic and the Halifax Chamber of Commerce says they’re ready to reopen.
"I think the business community would like to fully reopen,” said CEO Patrick Sullivan.
“I mean, in Nova Scotia, we have not moved to an essential services model, so many businesses are still open, many businesses are allowed to be open, but many smaller businesses in particular closed in order to support the government's agenda of physical distancing."
While the Chamber of Commerce is anxious to see business back up and running, they don’t want to do that at the expense of the health system.
"If we need to wear masks, I'm happy to wear a mask so long as I can get back to work, as long as many businesses can get back open and start to sell their wares,” said Sullivan.
The province reported only one new case of COVID-19 on Friday and two more deaths at Northwood.
(With files from CTV Atlantic's Natasha Pace)