N.S. lifts restrictions on gatherings; performing arts, sports limits increased

Dr. Robert Strang speaks (file/Communications N.S. Photo)

HALIFAX: The provincial government is increasing the allowable numbers for participants in performing arts, sport and organized physical activity.

Effective Oct. 1, the number of people who can participate in one of these activities without physical distancing will increase from 10 to 50. For most sports, this will allow full team practices and competition to resume, while for the performing arts, this will allow for larger rehearsals and performances.

This change also applies to recreational league sports, like adult hockey, and drop-in activities, like open swims and skates. Unorganized or casual games, like pickup basketball or soccer in the park, must adhere to existing gathering rules of small groups of 10 without physical distancing within a maximum of 50 with physical distancing.

“Art and sport are vital to our physical, mental and social well-being. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has put some of these activities on hold,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “Nova Scotia continues to see low COVID-19 activity, allowing us to safely resume important activities Nova Scotians enjoy.”

The gathering limit of 50 without physical distancing includes:
— players/participants, officials, coaches, instructors or anyone else who is required to be on or near the field of play
— performers, directors, cast, crew or anyone else required to be within the performance space

The limit of 50 applies to practises, competitions, games, rehearsals and artistic performances. While mask use is not required while doing physical activity, wearing masks and maintaining distance as much as possible continues to be encouraged for these activities.

“This will be welcome news, especially for children and families for whom participation in sport and other activities is such an important part of their lives,” said Leo Glavine, Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage. “Getting back to the arts, culture and sport activities we love requires that we follow the guidelines in place to protect our health and safety and that of others in our communities.”

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Existing gathering requirements for audiences/spectators at sport/recreation facilities and performances venues must continue to be followed.

All organizations are asked to have a rollback plan in place, should gathering limits need to be reduced again.

 Quick Facts:
— the gathering limits for day camps and after school programs remains at 15
— the gathering limit for events and performances is 250 outside with physical distancing and 50 per cent of a facility’s capacity, up to 200 inside, with physical distancing and mandatory masks for spectators
— testing numbers are updated daily at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus
— a state of emergency was declared under the Emergency Management Act on March 22 and extended to Oct. 4

Additional resources:
Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus

Government of Canada information line 1-833-784-4397 (toll-free)

The Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24/7 to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, or someone concerned about them, by calling 1-888-429-8167 (toll-free)

Kids Help Phone is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free)

For help or information about domestic violence 24/7, call 1-855-225-0220 (toll-free)