Focus On

Nova Scotia announces state of emergency, fines for not self-isolating

Monday, March 23, 2020 @ 1:27 PM | By Terry Davidson

Nova Scotia has gone hardline in its fight to curb the spread of COVID-19, declaring a provincial state of emergency and threatening to fine those who refuse to practise social distancing.

On March 22, Nova Scotia’s government announced the state of emergency, which, according to a news release, gives the government “broad powers to do whatever is necessary for the safety and protection” of residents.

For one, the new policy gives police the authorization to fine individuals $1,000 and businesses $7,500 for not practising “social distancing and self-isolation.”

Under the Health Protection Act’s new rules, social gatherings of more than five people are not allowed. Any workplace not deemed essential can remain open as long as “a two-metre or six-foot distance” can be maintained. Workplaces must also be disinfected at least twice daily.  

“Multiple fines can be given each day an individual or business fails to comply,” states the news release.

But several “essential” groups are exempt from gathering limits, including grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies.

“If possible, one person per family should be designated to do these tasks.”

The state of emergency will also tighten Nova Scotia’s borders starting March 23. Anyone entering the province will be stopped, questioned and told to self-isolate for 14 days. Exceptions include healthy workers who transport goods and people, health-care workers and those coming into the province for essential medical procedures.

Provincial parks, beaches and tourist attractions have been closed. Provincial trails will stay open, but the new social distancing rules apply.

Also, as of March 21, dentists were no longer allowed to perform procedures in their offices unless they deem it necessary “to perform an emergency dental procedure in the best interest of the patient’s health.”

As of March 22, there were 41 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, with 13 of these being discovered that day. Those affected range in age from under 10 to the mid-70s, according to the government.