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Gathering limit increased to 10 in Nova Scotia

You'll still need to stay 2 metres away from those not in your family bubble
040120- dr robert strang
Dr. Robert Strang (Photo courtesy of Communications Nova Scotia)

Nova Scotia has doubled the number of people allowed to gather.

Ten people will now be able to get together, however those not in your family bubble will still need to stay 2 metres away.

"Ten of you can gather in the driveway, the backyard, in a park, or even inside your house, as long as you stay 6 feet apart," Premier Stephen McNeil said at a Friday news conference.

This expanded limit applies to arts and culture activities like theatre performances and dance recitals, faith gatherings, and sports and physical activity. 

It also applies to businesses whose main function is gatherings, such as theatres, concerts, festivals and sporting activities, and to businesses that are too small to ensure physical distancing.

"For sports and physical activity, ten people can practice on a soccer field, for example, as long as they're maintaining the physical distance between them, but they can't play a typical game of soccer because that would involve close contact," explained Dr. Robert Strang. "They also can't have two separate groups of ten on the same field."

"So it's a group of 10 maintaining physical distance per sports setting, per field, per ball diamond, per rink, per court.

Because they're businesses, fitness facilities, will be allowed to exceed the limit as long as physical distancing and increased hygene measures are followed. 

"However, if a sports team rents a soccer field or the gymnasium at a fitness facility, or a hockey teams rents a rink, that team is subject to the gathering of ten," said Strang.

When it comes to religious gatherings -- with the exception of the allowed drive-in services -- ten people are also now permitted, but activities like passing a collection plate or communion are still prohibited.

"And we're saying singing is highly discouraged because there's now evidence that people singing actually significantly increases the spreading of respiratory droplets, which increases the risk of transmitting the virus that causes COVID-19," Strang added.

The province will permit groups of up to 15 people to gather for outdoor weddings and funeral services, not including those needed to conduct those services.

"I realize, certainly at weddings, people want to have a lot of other service providers, such as photographers, musicians, DJs and food service," said Strang. 

"I hate to be a damper on these joyous events, but at this time we need to make sure that the numbers are limited, so the officiant is the only extra person, and if you want a photographer, DJ, or something like that, they would be included in the ten indoors or the 15 outdoors."

The province also announced the following on Friday:

  • starting June 5, private campgrounds can open for all types of campers. They can only operate at 50 per cent capacity and must ensure public health protocols are followed including adequate distance between campsites
  • provincial campgrounds will open to Nova Scotians on June 15, with the reservation line opening June 8. They will operate at a reduced capacity to ensure a minimum of 20 feet between individual campsites
  • pools can start maintenance work to prepare for reopening, likely in time for summer
  • sleepover camps are not permitted this year
  • the state of emergency declared under the Emergency Management Act on March 22 has been extended to June 14

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