COVID-19 Update: NS Shuts Down for 2 Weeks

During today’s COVID-19 Update, Dr. Robert Strang and Premier Iain Rankin announced a province-wide shutdown or circuit breaker that will go into effect as of 8:00 AM tomorrow (Wednesday, April 28) and remain in place until at least May 12.

“We are in a race between the variant and the vaccine,” said Strang. “There is substantive risk of community spread across the province. We need to slow that spread until we are closer to population immunity through our vaccination program.”

The measures came as the province announced 96 new cases of COVID-19 and 419 active cases. Of these new cases, 90 are in the Central Zone, 3 are in the Eastern Zone (including one at Sydney Academy), 2 are in the Western Zone, and 1 is in the Northern Zone.

Dr. Robert Strang

Dr Robert Strang, COVID-19 Update for 27 April 2021.

Here in the Eastern Zone we have 36 active cases: 1 in the Inverness, Victoria & Richmond Community Health Network, 1 in the Antigonish & Guysborough Community Health Network and 34 in the Cape Breton Community Health Network. Strang and Rankin both said they are concerned about signs of possible community spread here in Cape Breton.

Across the province, there are now 11 people in hospital, three of whom are in ICU.

The province processed 9,962 NS COVID tests on April 26 and has now administered 283,591 doses of vaccine (35,002 people have received 2 doses).

In announcing the two-week shutdown, Strang promised support for essential workers in need of childcare services, details to follow “soon,” and Rankin promised an announcement regarding supports for business later this week.



In announcing the tightened restrictions, Rankin said “COVID and its variants are on the move,” and while the majority of cases are in the Central Zone, they are “starting to see a steady climb” here in the CBRM.

Here’s the list of restrictions:

Gatherings, schools and daycare

  • Nova Scotians can only gather indoors or outdoors with their household bubble, which is the people they live with
  • households of two or less people can socialize with one or two others but they must be the same people for this two-week period
  • no unnecessary travel between communities; a community is defined as the municipality where you live – people should stay as close to home as possible when accessing essential or necessary services or products
  • all public and private schools are closed
  • day cares will remain open, with the focus on providing service to those providing essential services or have no other child-care option; essential workers who need help to access childcare supports can contact or call 1-877-223-9555


  • mandatory masking for staff, visitors and children over two years old in indoor child-care settings
  • mandatory masking outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained, including playgrounds and parks
  • in private indoor workplaces such as offices or warehouses, masks are mandatory in all common areas, places where there is interaction with the public, areas with poor ventilation, and areas where distance cannot be maintained

Retail and business

Retail stores are closed for in-person service unless those stores provide services essential to the life, health or personal safety of individuals and animals. These stores can remain open at 25% capacity and include those that provide:

  • food
  • pharmaceutical products, medicine and medical devices
  • personal hygiene products
  • cleaning products
  • baby and child products
  • gas stations and garages
  • computer and cellphone service and repair
  • electronic and office supplies
  • hardware supplies
  • pet and animal supplies.
  • restaurants and licensed establishments are closed for dine-in service, but contactless take-out or delivery is allowed
  • Nova Scotia Liquor Commission stores can remain open at 25% capacity
  • personal services such as hair salons, barber shops and spas are closed
  • regulated and unregulated health professions can remain open with an approved COVID-19 plan
  • Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax and Sydney and First Nations gaming establishments and VLTs must close

Events, recreation, arts and culture

  • wedding and funeral ceremonies can have five people, plus officiants
  • no social events, special events, festivals, arts/cultural events, sports events, faith gatherings, wedding receptions, or funeral visitation or receptions
  • no meetings or training except mental health and addictions support groups, which can have 10 people with physical distancing and masks
  • virtual gatherings and performances can be held with a maximum of five people in one location
  • all fitness, recreational and sports facilities are closed
  • licensed and unlicensed establishments cannot host activities such as darts, cards, pool and bowling
  • indoor fitness facilities like gyms and yoga studios and sport and recreation facilities like pools, arenas, tennis courts and large multipurpose recreation facilities are closed
  • businesses and organizations offering a wide variety of indoor recreation activities are closed, such as indoor play areas, arcades, climbing facilities, dance classes and music lessons
  • outdoor recreation activities, including individual sports, are allowed and encouraged; outdoor fitness and recreation businesses and organized clubs can operate with a maximum of five people and physical distancing
  • museums, libraries and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia are closed, but libraries can offer pick-up and drop-off of books and other materials

Long-term care/special care

  • there will be no visitors or volunteers allowed inside long-term care facilities except for designated care providers and no visits to the community
  • all adult day programs for seniors closed
  • all homes licensed by the Department of Community Service under the Homes for Special Care Act cannot have visitors and residents cannot have community access
  • all adult day programs for persons with disabilities funded by the Department of Community Services will be closed except for scheduled vaccine clinics at three of these programs

People who do not follow the public health measures can be fined. For example, the fine is now $2,000 for each person at an illegal gathering.



Strang noted that we have the highest per capita testing rates in the country — yesterday, we tested 20,000 people or 2% of the population.

That said, Strang admitted there are some constraints in terms of capacity, particularly in Cape Breton.

Premier Rankin tweeted earlier in the afternoon that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is sending 60 Canadian Armed Forces members to NS to “significantly ramp up our testing.”

Strang said some people have been lying about having symptoms to get tested more quickly and told people not to do that.

Finally, here is Halifax-based epidemiologist’s helpful explanation of how testing is like playing Battleship:



As part of the general lockdown, the Civic Centre and all municipal buildings in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality will close to the public as of 8:00 AM tomorrow.

The municipality has provided additional information about bills and applications and inspections on the municipal website.

Today (Tuesday) CBRM Transit stopped service on Route 11 Ashby and Route 12 Sydney River at 3:00 PM due to a driver shortage. (Residents can still access Sydney River via Route 5 to North Sydney every hour.)

I asked if the driver shortage was COVID related and was told no staff member has tested positive but “a lot of residents are impacted either directly or indirectly by recent exposure notices or school closures” and “many are seeking testing.” Which I believe means some drivers must be among the residents so impacted.

CBRM says management is “reassessing the current routes and hours of operation.”

In addition, CBRM Mayor and Council have postponed budget deliberations to Thursday, April 29 at 9:30 AM via Zoom.



Here’s today’s briefing if you prefer your news directly from the source: