Halifax's bubble gets smaller

Restaurant tables, home visits and public groups will soon be capped at five.

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Starting Monday, November 23, your close-contact bubble for hanging out publicly in Halifax shrinks from 10 people to five.
  • Starting Monday, November 23, your close-contact bubble for hanging out publicly in Halifax shrinks from 10 people to five.
Remember the days of MySpace—where you picked your top friends to list on your profile page? Now it's real life, except instead of your profile, you have to pick your personal COVID-19 bubble.

For "western HRM," once the clock strikes 12:01 on Monday, November 23, a resident's bubble—the people you don't have to socially distance from and mask up around—can only include five people.

According to provincial top doc Robert Strang, this area includes "from the municipality's borders with Lunenburg County to the west, and as far east as Porters Lake. Up to Hants County to the north including Mount Uniacke and Enfield, parts of which are in West and East Hants county. It does not include the Eastern Shore from Porters Lake to Ecum Secum."

During a November 20 press conference, Strang said social interactions have been the cause of the majority of second-wave spread here, rather than travel like the first wave.

The new restrictions mean that a household may have more than five members but they may only go outside the home in groups of five. Only five people can visit a household at a time.

Strang says if "all goes well" the restrictions would be eased on December 21.

For the same areas of HRM, larger gathering limits will be reduced. Informal indoor or outdoor social events (with social distancing) are now capped at 25 people, down from 50.

Indoor events run by a recognized business or organization can have 50 percent of the venue’s capacity to a maximum of 100 people with physical distancing, down from 200 people. And outdoor events run by a recognized business or organization can have 150 people with physical distancing, down from 250.

At restaurants, the five-person per table limit applies in the same "western HRM" zone. But contact tracing in restaurants is now mandatory for the entire province, which up until now was only a recommendation.

After recent cases at the two public schools, Strang says Auburn Drive High and Graham Creighton Jr High will close for two weeks effective immediately, although schools aren't "driving the spread of COVID" the way social interactions are.

For the full release and updates, visit the province's COVID-19 website.

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