N.S. reopens schools, stores and restaurant patios, resumes use of AstraZeneca shots

Nova Scotia is entering the first phase of its five-step COVID-19 reopening plan Wednesday.

The province had been under lockdown since April 28 because of a COVID-19 outbreak, which primarily affected the Halifax and Sydney, N.S., regions.

Restaurants patios can open at full capacity as long as there is proper distancing between tables, and retail stores can reopen at 25 per cent capacity.

Schools reopened today across most of the province and will reopen Thursday in the Halifax and Sydney, N.S., areas.

Meanwhile, Nova Scotia is resuming its use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for second doses only.

People who received a first dose of that vaccine can get a booster shot of the same or choose a second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

The decision was announced Tuesday after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization updated its guidance on the interchangeability of vaccines approved for use by Health Canada.

Nova Scotia has about 2,000 doses of AstraZeneca set to expire at the end of the month. Health officials said if the remaining supply is used and there is more demand for AstraZeneca second doses, they will request more of that vaccine.

The province says about 58,000 Nova Scotians have received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2021.