Due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia is tightening border controls.
Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, announced today, Jan. 8, a new self-isolation requirement for people coming to Nova Scotia from New Brunswick. It takes effect tomorrow, Jan. 9, at 8 a.m.
“Our case numbers are improving in Nova Scotia and we want to keep it that way,” said Premier McNeil. “Given the sharp rise in cases in New Brunswick, we are taking the step of tightening our border to limit opportunities for the virus to spread.”
Starting tomorrow, people entering Nova Scotia from New Brunswick must complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in form before arriving and self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Nova Scotians returning from New Brunswick must also self-isolate for 14 days, unless they are exempt from the order. For example, people who regularly cross the provincial border for work do not have to isolate and can get a pass from border officials to display in their vehicle.
This new requirement is not retroactive. However, people who arrived from New Brunswick or had visitors from that province in the past 14 days should get tested immediately and consider a second test five to seven days later. People who were in New Brunswick should self-isolate while waiting for the first test result. People can book a test at https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en .
Permanent residents of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador do not have to isolate if they drive straight through New Brunswick to Nova Scotia with no or minimal stops.
Post-secondary students arriving from anywhere except Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador should get tested on day 6, 7 or 8 of their self-isolation. Students arriving from New Brunswick should check with their institutions about any potential changes in residence accommodations related to self-isolation.
“While our case numbers are improving, we are not out of the woods yet especially given the risk of importing case through travel from other jurisdictions,” said Dr. Strang. “We continue to ask people not to travel unless it’s necessary, follow all the public health measures, and get tested even if you don’t have symptoms to help project your families, friends and communities.”
The public health order exempts some people from self-isolation if they do not have symptoms:
- certain workers who must travel for their jobs, including people who routinely cross the land border for work
- people who are dropping off or picking up a child within about 24 hours as part of a legal custody agreement
- people traveling to and from essential health services, with one accompanying support person
- people can participate in a legal proceeding but must otherwise self-isolate
Specialized workers doing critical urgent work that cannot be done by anyone in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland Labrador can enter Nova Scotia to do their work but must otherwise self-isolate.
Rotational workers who work outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador have a modified form of self-isolation when they return home. They should get tested on day 1 or 2 of their isolation and again on day 6, 7 or 8.
Most current provincewide restrictions are continuing until 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 24. They include:
- gathering limit of 10, both in your home and in the community
- restaurants and licensed establishments stop service by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m.
- fitness facilities operate at 50% of capacity and have 3 metres between people for high intensity activities, including indoor and outdoor fitness classes
- 25 people maximum for sports practices/training and arts and culture rehearsals; games, tournaments or performances are not permitted
- social events, festivals, special events, arts/cultural events and sports events are not permitted
- faith gatherings, wedding ceremonies and funeral services can have 150 people outdoors or 50 per cent of an indoor venue’s capacity, to a maximum of 100
- wedding receptions and funeral receptions/visitation are not permitted
Exceptions include an increase in the operating limit for retail businesses and malls to 50 per cent starting Jan. 11. As well, the Halifax casino, VLTs and First Nations gaming establishments can reopen on Jan. 11 in areas of Halifax Regional Municipality and Hants County.
Schools will reopen for students on Jan. 11. Community use of school gyms for sport and physical activity can resume as long as activities follow provincewide restrictions currently in place.
- the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in form is at https://travel-declaration.novascotia.ca/en
- travelers must respond to a daily email check-in during their 14 days of self-isolation
Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus
Government of Canada information line 1-833-784-4397 (toll-free)
The Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24/7 to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, or someone concerned about them, by calling 1-888-429-8167 (toll-free)
Kids Help Phone is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free)
For help or information about domestic violence 24/7, call 1-855-225-0220 (toll-free)
For more information about COVID-19 testing and online booking, visit https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/symptoms-and-testing/
The COVID-19 self-assessment is at https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/