Nova Scotians enjoying warm weather as the province slowly reopens

People of all ages were out enjoying the weather this weekend in Nova Scotia.

"We're feeling so excited to be out and about today, just enjoying the sun. We're going to head to the beach. So, we're going to rent a car and head there now and just enjoy the sun for the day,” said Rachel Moran.

This is the first weekend since the end of April that Nova Scotia hasn’t been in a lockdown.

"It's just honestly refreshing seeing a hustle and bustle downtown so we're just you know, going to get a little steam on a patio,” said Ausha Whiting.

"We're feeling pretty good. Everybody seems like they're behaving themselves so we're looking forward to finding a patio and getting some sun,” said Iain MacLeod

On Wednesday, the province officially started the first phase of a cautious five phase reopening plan.

There are 224 active COVID cases in Nova Scotia. 18 new cases were reported Saturday, along with 45 recoveries.

The lower case count has many Nova Scotians feeling more comfortable getting out.

"Cases are down significantly, more people are being vaccinated and I am comfortable even though I am immunocompromised, I am comfortable with a mask on being out and about,” said Dawn Maxwell.

"Obviously, the government knows what they're doing and if they feel it's ready, that we can go out and around then lets just stay safe and do our part and keep things sanitized and kind of go around and yeah, enjoy it,” said Sophee Gray.

"As long as the numbers keep going down, we having that downward trend, I feel fine going out and being around other people,” said MacLeod.

Although the COVID case count has dropped significantly in recent weeks, health officials say it’s even more important for people to keep getting tested as things open back up.

"Vaccines do help us to prevent both infections that become very bad and require hospitalization and it also does help to a certain extent to prevent transmission but they're not bulletproof and in order to keep our vaccines most effective and to prevent the generation of new viruses and new variants the best thing for us to do is catch the very, very small number of cases that will end up floating around by doing lots of testing,” said infectious disease specialist and scientist Dr. Lisa Barrett.

With many businesses now starting to reopen, the Halifax Chamber of Commerce is offering rapid COVID testing kits to employers so they can test for the virus on site.

"We have over 10,000 tests in our office right now that we are looking to distribute at no cost to employers. There's a place on the website where they can sign up to get in line and we want people to test at their own facilities,” said CEO Patrick Sullivan.

As of June 4, more than 620,000 doses of vaccine have been administered in Nova Scotia.