Be 'thankful' COVID restrictions aren't as severe as in other provinces: N.S. premier

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HALIFAX — Nova Scotians should be thankful this holiday season that COVID-19-related restrictions in the province aren't as bad as they are elsewhere, Premier Stephen McNeil said Thursday.

In-person dining at restaurants across Halifax is prohibited and in the rest of the province, restaurants and licensed establishments have to stop service by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m. Indoor gatherings provincewide meanwhile, are capped at 10 people.

But in Quebec and Ontario, by contrast, all businesses deemed "non-essential" by those provincial governments will be closed on Dec. 25 and Dec. 26, respectively, and stay closed for weeks.

McNeil said in a statement he appreciated that following public health orders during the holidays "can be a challenge" but he said restrictions in the province "are not as tight as in other parts of the country."

"Let's also be thankful for what we do have as we continue the good work to keep COVID-19 in check. I wish all Nova Scotians a safe holiday season and a Merry Christmas."

Nova Scotia reported seven new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, six of which were in the Halifax area and one was in the western health zone. The province has 36 reported active cases of COVID-19 and no patients are in hospital with the disease.

In New Brunswick, health officials reported two new cases Thursday: one involved a person in their 20s in the Moncton region and the other involved someone in their 50s in the Bathurst area. Both cases are self-isolating and under investigation.

The province has had eight deaths attributed to COVID-19 and has 44 reported active infections. One patient is hospitalized in intensive care with the disease. All of New Brunswick is under the "yellow" pandemic-alert level, the second-lowest level in the province's recovery plan.

Health officials in Prince Edward Island reported three new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, all travel related. The new cases involved two women — one in her 30s and the other in her 50s — as well as a man in his 50s. They all arrived in the province following travel outside Atlantic Canada and are not related to each other.

Prince Edward Island has five reported active cases of COVID-19 and has reported a total of 94 positive cases since the onset of the pandemic.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new COVID-19 infections Thursday; the province has 21 reported active infections.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 24, 2020.

The Canadian Press