Nova Scotia health officials reported 37 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday in the largest single-day increase since April 23.
There are currently 87 active cases in the province.
“If that isn’t enough of a concern, I don’t know what is,” said Premier Stephen McNeil in a provincial update on Tuesday.
Majority of the new cases are in the Halifax area and are individuals aged 18-35.
Public Health announced new COVID-19 measures on Tuesday and asked Nova Scotians to limit travel to the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Tight measures coming to Nova Scotians
All restaurants are closing to in-person dining as of Wednesday, but takeout and delivery can continue, McNeil said.
The public gathering limit is now five. Fitness centres, libraries, museums, casinos and similar facilities will be closed.
Personal services like hairstylists and estheticians will stay open, but any procedures that require clients to remove mask are no longer allowed.
Health official say residents should expect stronger enforcement for illegal gatherings, including a $1000 fine for each person at a party. Previously, Halifax police and RCMP have said they only charge the host.
Chief of health Dr. Robert Strang said an increase in cases in one specific demographic where social activities are important, was expected.
Strang said 72 per cent of cases reported in November are in the 18-35 demographic.
New measures announced on Tuesday will have an impact, but high numbers will continue for the next week to ten days, Strang said in the briefing.
To limit exposure, Strang says travel from the HRM to other parts of the province and other way around will be limited.
Sports teams inside the HRM cannot travel for a game, and teams cannot come into Halifax.
Additionally, stores at malls are only allowed to let in 25 per cent of regular capacity and maintain strict distance between customers.
Strang advises residents to go shopping for essential reasons only.
“If you’re thinking you’re coming to Halifax this weekend for Black Friday, please think again,” Strang said.
“HRM for the next two weeks is not a shopping destination for the rest of the province.”
Effective Thursday, all Nova Scotia long-term care facilities will be closed to visitors except volunteers and designated caregivers, Strang said.
He also said masks will now be mandatory in common spaces in apartment buildings.
Strang encourages Nova Scotians to significantly limit travel in and out of the greater Halifax area, and to limit out-of-province travel to essential reasons only.
Vast majority of positive cases have been asymptomatic or have had mild symptoms, Strang said.
“If people are going about their daily lives (they are) exposing lots of other people.”
Strang reminded the province is opening up a stream of testing for bar staff and late-night patrons. He said Tuesday afternoon that 4,000 people have already signed up for testing.
The update comes one day after governments of Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador announced backing out of the Atlantic bubble due to rising cases in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
More to come.
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