Halifax readies for sweeping coronavirus measures as cases trend upward

HALIFAX – People in Halifax are bracing for a series of tougher restrictions as the city deals with a rise in COVID-19 infections.

Effective Thursday and for the next two weeks, there will be no in-person dining at restaurants, while public libraries, museums, gyms, yoga studios and casinos will close.

Public gatherings in the city will be limited to five people, while retail stores will be required to limit the number of shoppers and staff to 25 per cent or less of their legal capacity.

Read more: Nova Scotia reports 37 new cases of COVID-19, shuts down bars, gyms

Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, said Tuesday the sweeping restrictions were necessary after he reported 37 new infections – 35 of which were identified in Halifax.

Later in the day, the Nova Scotia Health Authority released a list of 21 sites – mostly bars and restaurants in downtown Halifax – where potential exposures to COVID-19 had occurred between Nov. 14 and Nov. 21.

Saint Mary’s University confirmed that a “community member” had tested positive for COVID-19, adding that health authorities hadn’t issued any exposure warnings related to the campus in Halifax’s south end.

Click to play video 'Restaurant industry shut down as N.S. enters second wave' 2:06 Restaurant industry shut down as N.S. enters second wave

Restaurant industry shut down as N.S. enters second wave

The outbreak in Atlantic Canada’s largest city was a large factor influencing Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador’s decision earlier this week to temporarily withdraw from the Atlantic travel bubble.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Health Department issued an advisory Tuesday asking anyone who had returned to the province and who had been in a bar in the Halifax area in the last two weeks to get tested for COVID-19.

Read more: Public Health advises on 21 new potential coronavirus exposure locations in HRM

Strang said the number of cases in Nova Scotia has steadily increased since October, with 118 cases recorded so far in November.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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