Nova Scotia 'patio season' in full swing as COVID-19 numbers trend in the right direction

Many Maritimers were out soaking up the sun this weekend.

"I got out yesterday with a couple friends on a patio downtown and had a nice supper, social distanced and headed out golfing right now,” said Leanne Salyzn.

After seeing a surge in COVID cases through April and May, case numbers continue to trend downward in Nova Scotia. 12 new cases of infection were reported Sunday, along with 32 recoveries, leaving 204 active cases in the province.

One month ago, on May 6, there were more than 1,300 active COVID cases.         

A province-wide lockdown ended on June 2. Many Haligonians say they feel comfortable as public health measure start to ease and are excited to get out and explore the city again.

"Just super happy and I feel like the entire city is in a better mood overall,” said Megan Reddy.

"I feel pretty comfortable overall. I feel like even since we've opened up the cases have still been going down so that's a really good sign,” said Lauren Weseluck.

"I feel like everything is starting to balance out again. And I'm confident things are on the up rise,” added Brian Doucette.

As part of the first phase of the reopening plan, restaurants with patios are allowed to serve customers outside.

"We're thrilled to be open,” said Luc Erjavec with Restaurants Canada. “Let's be clear, we're losing money every single day when we're just open with patios, we just cannot generate the volumes we need to do to survive."

Erjavec says many restaurants are still losing money or breaking even – even with patios now open.

"This is the first step in a very long road to recovery and we hope that governments at both the provincial and federal level will realize that and continue to work with us and support our industry in the upcoming six, eight, 10, 12 months that we're going to recover and get back to normal,” he said.

Each phase of the province’s reopening plan is expected to last two to four weeks.

Phase two could start as early as June 16 and phase three by the end of June. The fourth phase of the plan could start in mid-July and the last phase by September, when it’s expected 75 percent of the population will have received two doses of vaccine.

“The vaccine is our way out. It will be a while before COVID is gone if ever, the vaccine will allow us to live safely and more normally with a virus,” Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, said on Friday afternoon.

To date, more than 620,000 doses of vaccine have been administered in Nova Scotia.

Although the province is cautiously reopening, health officials continue to encourage Nova Scotians to get tested for the virus.