The Guardian (Charlottetown)
N.S. mask order won’t be enforced
Most Nova Scotians have shown they take ‘public health directives very
The Province of Nova Scotia won’t be enforcing the new mandatory mask rule that came into effect Friday, at least not in the early going, says Health Minister Randy Delorey.
“We’re reaching out and providing the order and we anticipate that Nova Scotians will respect that order and protect one another,” Delorey told reporters on Thursday.
The minister said the vast majority of Nova Scotians have shown throughout the pandemic that they take “public health directives very seriously.”
Starting Friday, maskwearing is now required in most public indoor spaces in the province. But there is no fine structure put in place for failure to comply. Delorey said the province doesn’t want to take a “strong-arm approach” to ensure people follow the rule. But he said people who don’t abide by it could be fined or face other penalties under the Health Protection Act order.
The rule includes exemptions for toddlers as well as for people with a valid medical reason.
Delorey suggested the province might reconsider enforcing the order if compliance becomes an issue.
Meanwhile, Brad Johns, Tory Sackville-Beaver Bank MLA, is opposed to the prospect of the province opening its borders to the rest of the country. Anyone from outside the Atlantic provinces is required to self-isolate for 14 days but Premier Stephen McNeil has stated interest in lifting that restriction this summer.
Johns said the Atlantic bubble shouldn’t be expanded until at least the fall when a second wave of the COVID19 virus is predicted. He said opening the borders could jeopardize the province’s plan to reopen schools in the fall. Johns also questioned whether the province has a proper plan in place to respond to a potential outbreak.
“Very few people have said open up Nova Scotia,” said Johns. “What we’re hearing from Nova Scotians is that they are safe and they are secure. Maintaining that bubble is the best way to do that.”
But McNeil said Thursday that reopening the province’s borders is key to boosting a struggling tourism sector but also the province’s entire economy.
“We need to get back to moving our economy forward,” said McNeil. “It’s not just people who are coming here to visit this beautiful place, they’re coming to do (business) transactions.
“We have to get to the point that we are living with COVID and we can’t continue to lock ourselves down.”