Nova Scotia will officially begin Phase 2 of its reopening plan Wednesday, which includes larger social gatherings and a return to indoor dining.
In an emailed statement Monday, the provincial government said the move to Phase 2 can take place because COVID-19 cases are staying low, hospitalizations are decreasing, testing is steady, and vaccine coverage is going up.
Phase 2 will allow indoor and outdoor dining at bars and restaurants, though capacity limits and distancing requirements remain in place. All retail stores will be able to operate at 50 per cent capacity. New gathering limits without social distancing will be 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors.
One new death reported Monday
Nova Scotia is reporting that another person has died of COVID-19, marking the 90th death from the virus since the pandemic began.
A woman in her 80s died in the central zone, according to a news release from the Department of Health on Monday.
"This virus is serious and can have devastating impacts," Premier Iain Rankin said in the release. "Please continue to follow the public health measures, get tested regularly and get vaccinated as soon as you can."
The province also reported eight new cases on Monday, all of which are in the central health zone.
Three are close contacts of previously reported cases, two are travel related and three are still under investigation.
There are now 124 known active cases in the province. Six people are in hospital with the virus, including four in intensive care.
Nova Scotia Health labs completed 3,348 COVID-19 tests on Sunday.
Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, are expected to provide an update on COVID-19 in the province on Tuesday at 3 p.m.
2nd dose rescheduling
Nova Scotia is continuing to move up second doses as its vaccine rollout ramps up.
On Monday, the province announced that people who received their first vaccine dose on or before April 24, and are scheduled to receive their second dose on or before Aug. 7, can now reschedule their appointments for an earlier date.
People will be able to choose an earlier date and time, and also which vaccine they'd like to receive as their second dose.
Everyone will get a notice by email when it's their time to reschedule. Those who did not provide an email when they signed up for their first dose can call 1-833-797-7772 to add one.
"Getting vaccinated will not only protect you but also your loved ones," Strang said in a news release. "We must continue to work together and follow the public health protocols as we work our way through the reopening plan."
As of Sunday, 698,979 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered. Of those, 51,536 Nova Scotians have received their second dose.
Central zone testing
Nova Scotia Health announced Sunday that community-based testing would be available at locations in the central zone, which is the only region that still has limited community spread.
The Public Health mobile unit is open for drop-in testing at two locations Monday, including:
Tantallon Public Library at 3646 Hammonds Plains Rd., Upper Tantallon from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Halifax North Memorial Library at 2285 Gottingen St., Halifax from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Atlantic Canada case numbers
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