Nova Scotia restricts out-of-province sports-related travel for kids 11 and younger

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Nova Scotia is restricting out-of-province travel by children 11 years of age and younger who want to participate in events related to sports, arts and culture.

Effective immediately, individuals, businesses and organizations in Nova Scotia are also prohibited from hosting sports, arts and cultural events involving out-of-province children aged 11 and younger.

Nova Scotia's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang, said Wednesday in a news release that cases of COVID-19 are spreading among children through sports and cultural events, adding that the restrictions are needed until enough children are vaccinated.

“I strongly encourage parents to book vaccination appointments for their children as soon as possible," said Strang. "It is our best defence against this virus and our best path forward to living with fewer restrictions.”

Officials say the travel restriction will remain in place until at least early January, when it will be re-evaluated.

Strang says children are still able to participate in regular practices, lessons or rehearsals for sports, arts and culture events, adding these gatherings are lower risk because childen are interacting with the same group all the time.

"This is about going to actual games, competitions and performances," added Strang.

The first shots of the pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are being made available beginning Thursday at pharmacies in the province and at the IWK Health Centre.

Strang has said there is enough capacity within the health system to administer first doses before Christmas to 80 per cent of the children who are eligible.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2021.

With files from CTV Atlantic.