The rules are changing for some Nova Scotians with jobs outside the province.
Those with work that takes them from home for set periods of time, such as oil work in Alberta, will no longer have to self-isolate upon return.
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, has now allowed those people to interact freely with family members once they get home. But they will not be free to socialize with friends or got out to eat until they have been home and healthy for at least two weeks.
"What we're doing is allowing them broader activities with their families within their family bubble, if you will, so they can have more interaction with their family," said Strang. "We've heard many people feel they want to be able to help their spouse out when they're home by taking kids activities, etc., so we're allowing that."
"But at the same time, they don't have broad interaction in the broader community."
Among activities now permitted by rotational workers are:
- Interacting with people who live in their household.
- Spending time outside on their own property.
- Going for a drive.
- Going for a walk, run, hike, bike or ATV ride for exercise and recreation off their property.
- Visiting a park, beach or other outdoor public space.
- Spending time at their cabin or vacation home.
- Dropping off and picking up household members at school, work or recreational activities without getting out of the vehicle.
- No-contact grocery pickup, or other items purchased online, without getting out of the vehicle.
- Attending a drive-in theatre without getting out of the vehicle.
- Going through a drive-thru, possibly at a restaurant or bank.
Starting Monday, those workers will also be allowed to go to medical or dental appointments or to visit an optometrist.
Workers are still not allowed to enter public places, attend gatherings or visit people outside of the household until they've been home two weeks.
Strang said he does not agree with the stance taken by governments in neighbouring New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, which allow out-of-province workers greater freedom.
"In other parts of the country, we've had a number of outbreaks of COVID in different work camps, they're exposed to lots of other people, other people even internationally coming into these camps," he said. "And so they represent a risk when they come back here to the province."
Statement from premier
In a statement, Premier Stephen McNeil said the province recognizes travelling back and forth from Nova Scotia isn't easy.
"These Nova Scotians play a vital role in our communities and our economy," he said.
"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."
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