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Nova Scotia could see Atlantic bubble return Canada Day

The province might also reopen to Canadian travellers outside of the Atlantic provinces later this summer
212805 - Strang and Rankin Briefing
Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin (left) and chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang at the province's COVID-19 briefing on May 28, 2021

Nova Scotia announced its reopening plan on Friday, and it's possible the province could see the Atlantic bubble return on Canada Day.

At the province's COVID-19 briefing on May 28, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang said the province is currently eyeing a target date of July 1.

“But there’s a lot that has to happen, and lots of discussion between now and then,” Strang said at the briefing.

At the briefing, Nova Scotia released its reopening plan which details how the province will gradually reopen in five separate phases. The first phase is set to begin on June 2.

Each of the plan's phases will last between two and four weeks depending on vaccination rates, COVID-19 cases and hospitalization numbers.

If the first two phases both last for two weeks, Nova Scotia will be set to start its third phase — which includes reopening the Atlantic bubble — on July 1.

According to the plan, Nova Scotia must reach its target of giving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to 65 per cent of its population to begin phase three.

The province must also see a low number of hospitalizations and COVID-19 cases.

For the Atlantic bubble to reopen in phase three, Premier Iain Rankin said the epidemiology of the other three Atlantic provinces is also a crucial detail.

Earlier this week, Prince Edward Island announced it was aiming to reopen to Atlantic travellers on June 27 and to all of Canada by Sept. 12.

New Brunswick also announced it was hoping to reopen to the rest of Atlantic Canada on July 1 and drop all COVID-19 restrictions by Aug. 2.

Nova Scotia hasn't released projected reopening dates. Rankin said the Atlantic Canadian premiers will continue discussing reopening dates later in June. 

The province's reopening plan also states that "travellers from outside Atlantic Canada can enter with [a] 14-day quarantine" in phase three.

Strang said if things go well, the quarantine requirement could potentially be limited or removed for other Canadian travellers who show proof of vaccination or testing.

The province's reopening plan states that should come into effect in phase four. That phase should be implemented two to four weeks after phase three and when at least 75 per cent of Nova Scotia's population has at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.

“There’s a whole month and lots of discussions that have to happen between provinces as well around making sure we’re aligning and consistent in a number of areas,” Strang said.

As of May 28, Nova Scotia has administered 560,843 COVID-19 vaccine doses. As of May 25, more than 48 per cent of Nova Scotia's population has received at least one vaccine dose.

Today, May 29, the province reported 33 new COVID-19 cases and a total of 566 active cases.

Chris Stoodley

About the Author: Chris Stoodley

Chris was born and raised in Halifax. After graduating from the journalism program at King's, he started as CityNews Halifax's weekend editor.
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