Some N.S. events still allowed to proceed despite Phase 5 delay
Amid a rising case count, Nova Scotians will have to wait a little longer for the province to drop COVID-19 restrictions.
Despite that, some large events that were scheduled to take place in Nova Scotia before October 4 will be able to proceed without following the current Phase Four gathering limits.
"I think it's simply to be fair. We always try to be fair and reasonable,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s Medical Officer of Health. “They’ve had these events planned based on certain expectations, people have bought tickets but we're applying a layer of protection, we're saying you can hold your event but you have to have a proof of vaccination in place."
Starting October 4, people 12 and older will need to show proof they've been fully vaccinated to participate in most non-essential activities, such as;
- full-service restaurants where patrons sit at tables to be served, both indoors and on patios
- liquor licensed establishments, casinos and other gaming establishments, both indoors and on patios
- indoor and outdoor fitness and recreation facilities such as gyms, yoga studios, pools and arenas, as well as fitness classes
- indoor and outdoor leisure facilities and businesses such as dance and music lessons, climbing facilities, escape rooms, pottery painting, indoor play places, arcades, shooting ranges, go-carts and outdoor adventure
- indoor and outdoor festivals, special events, and arts and culture events and venues such as theatre performances, concerts and movie theatres, unless they are outdoor events held in public spaces with no specific entry point, such as Nocturne
- participants and spectators for indoor and outdoor sports practices, games, competitions and tournaments
- indoor and outdoor extracurricular school-based activities, including sports
- bus, boat and walking tours
- museums, public libraries and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
- indoor and outdoor events and activities such as receptions, social events, conferences and training that are hosted by a recognized business or organization
- indoor and outdoor wedding and funeral ceremonies, receptions and visitation that are hosted by a recognized business or organization
Proof of vaccination will not be required under the new policy for employees of businesses and organizations that offer these events and activities.
The province says proof of vaccination will not be required for most places that don't facilitate formal gatherings, such as:
- retail stores
- financial institutions
- food establishments that primarily offer fast food, takeout and delivery
- professional services such as accountants and lawyers
- personal services such as hair salons, barber shops, spas and body art
- health-care services and health professions such as doctors' offices, dental care, massage therapy and physiotherapy
- rental accommodations such as hotel rooms, cottages and campgrounds
- faith services
- school-based activities that take place during the school day, before and after school programs and school buses
- business meetings and other activities where the general public is not present
- places where government services are offered
- food banks, shelters, Family Resource Centres and adult day programs for seniors or people with disabilities
- informal gatherings at a private residence
The owner of Uptown Salon and Spa in Halifax was surprised to learn she won't need to ask clients for proof of vaccination once the province drops restrictions.
"We're going to continue with masks. I think that's the best thing moving forward for us, for the time being. I think it's just best for us to keep everybody safe. It's easier, we’re not mandated to do it but it's highly suggested from our association,” said owner Jennifer Zinck.
The Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth is still working on a policy for when the province moves into phase five but says they're looking at keeping some public health measures in place.
"We certainly believe that masking is a very impressive element to try to manage this pandemic so we will be looking at suggesting masking be maintained at this time,” said Deacon Robert Doyle.
Officials say an exception policy for people who cannot get vaccinated because of a valid medical or behavioural reason is being developed.