HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is easing but not lifting self-isolation requirements for out-of-province rotational workers when they return home.
The changes are only for rotational workers who are residents of Nova Scotia and who travel to another province or territory in Canada to work in places such as the Alberta oilfields — they do not apply to those who work outside of Canada.
Effective immediately, rotational workers will be allowed to interact with family members in their households and will be allowed to spend time outside on their own property or go for a drive.
They will also be allowed to go for a walk, run, hike or use a bicycle off their property as long as they wear a mask and maintain physical distancing if they encounter people from outside of their household.
Visits to parks, beaches and other outdoor public spaces are also allowed as long as proper physical distancing is observed.
Rotational workers will also be permitted to spend time at their cabins or vacation homes within the province.
In a news release issued Friday, Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, said there are many rotational workers in the province and exempting them from the requirement to self-isolate could significantly increase public risk.
"We have expanded the list of allowable activities that focuses on the mental and physical well-being of rotational workers while ensuring we minimize the risk of transmission within Nova Scotia," Strang said.
Under the changes, rotational workers will also be allowed to drop off and pick up household members at school, and pick up groceries purchased online without getting out of their vehicle. They can also attend a drive-in theatre without getting out of their vehicle and are allowed to use drive-thrus at restaurants and banks.
Effective Monday, rotational workers will be allowed to attend urgent and routine medical appointments.
"These Nova Scotians play a vital role in our communities and our economy," said Premier Stephen McNeil. "We want to ensure that the self-isolation requirement does not negatively impact the health, well-being and family lives of rotational workers, so we are making changes."
The province said the workers would remain restricted from entering public spaces such as schools, grocery stores, restaurants and bars, and from attending indoor and outdoor gatherings.
They aren't allowed to visit people from outside of their household and can't host visits from others at their homes on their property. They also can't work or volunteer in any capacity that would require contact with people from outside of their household.
Nova Scotia reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Friday and has two active cases of the virus.
Health officials said they were investigating a case of COVID-19 that is in Nova Scotia but had been identified in another province. They said since the person tested positive in another province, the case was not included in the total number of positive cases.
To date, there have been 1,086 positive COVID-19 cases and 65 deaths. No one is currently in hospital.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 11, 2020.
The Canadian Press