New Brunswickers coming into Nova Scotia soon will no longer have to self-isolate when entering Nova Scotia.
The change will take effect at 8 a.m. on Saturday.
However, Nova Scotians going to New Brunswick will still have to self-isolate for two weeks upon arrival there. While Nova Scotia has reopened its border, New Brunswick is not planning to do the same.
Once Nova Scotians who are in New Brunswick have completed the two-week self-isolation required in that province, they will not have to self-isolate in Nova Scotia when they return.
Premier Iain Rankin made the announcement during a briefing with Dr. Robert Strang, the chief medical officer of health, on Friday.
“I know this will make life easier for Nova Scotians who have family in New Brunswick or who work in New Brunswick,” Rankin said.
Meanwhile, three new COVID-19 cases are being reported in Nova Scotia on Friday.
All three cases are in the central health zone and are close contacts of previously reported cases. The province now has 17 active cases.
Laboratories finished processing 2,549 COVID-19 tests on Thursday.
As of Thursday, 58,036 doses of vaccine have been administered, and of those, 20,050 Nova Scotians have received their second dose.
Also effective Saturday at 8 a.m., the remaining restrictions on the Halifax Regional Municipality and other designated areas will be lifted.
That means that residents of long-term care facilities in those areas will now be permitted to have visitors aside from their designated caregivers.
Special events, festivals and social gatherings hosted by recognized businesses or organizations can once again happen effective Saturday. Those events will be allowed to have up to 150 people outdoors and 50 per cent of capacity to a maximum of 100 people indoors.
Restaurants and bars will be permitted to serve until 11 p.m., and must close at midnight — an extension of one hour.
Sports practices, arts and culture rehearsals and performances can have 60 people without physical distancing, and sports games and tournaments are allowed within the team’s regular competitive schedule.
Fitness facilities can continue to operate at 75 per cent capacity, but can return to two metres between people for all activities instead of three metres.
The general gathering limit remains at 10, both indoors and outdoors. The limits on household gatherings will also be increased from a maximum of 10 including the members of the household, to 10 visitors plus the number of people in the household.
As of 7 a.m. on Monday, March 22, all Nova Scotians who are 80 and older, no matter what month they were born, will be eligible to get the vaccine. Until Monday, eligibility for those who are 80 and older is limited to those who were born between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31.
Residents who are between 60 and 64 can book appointments to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.
More pharmacies will be opening for people who are 80 and older to get their vaccines.
Residents cannot book appointments through a pharmacy or physician. They must call 1-833-797-7772 or book an appointment online.
Strang acknowledged there have been “a few bumps” along the way in vaccine bookings, but said capacity for online and phone booking will soon be increased. He also noted the busiest times for bookings are mornings and around suppertime, and advised people to call or try to book online outside those times.
He said much more information about vaccine availability, including the estimated timelines of when different age groups will be eligible for vaccines, will be released on Tuesday.
“We have come a long way together over the past year, and while there is an end in sight, we have a few more months on this journey,” he said.
“We have the lowest per capita rate of COVID 19 in Canada except for the Yukon. And by caring for one another, we can keep it that way.”