COVID-19 Roundup: Daycares reopening, distancing in parks, local org feted for rural development

Photo: Willowbrae Academy.

Yesterday, June 2, Nova Scotia didn’t confirm any new cases of COVID-19. Overall, the province has had 1,057 confirmed cases and 60 deaths. There are currently five pandemic patients in hospital, including two in ICU; 992 people have recovered.

Daycares reopen June 15
Government announced yesterday that Nova Scotia’s licensed child care centres and daycares will reopen June 15. “Child care centres will open beginning at a minimum 50% capacity and can move up to 100% if they are able to meet public health’s COVID-19 guidelines for child care settings,” says the announcement. “Family daycare homes will open at full capacity. All facilities must follow COVID-19 guidelines outlined by public health.”

Officials created the public health guidelines with input from the IWK Health Centre, according to the press release. The guidelines tell operators how they can prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19, manage disease outbreaks, and advise staff on the use of personal protective equipment. They also outline public health measures that address physical distancing, hygiene practises, cleaning practices, and outdoor activities.

The government is requiring all licensed child care providers to have reopening plans specific to their site. The plans must include measures like:

  • increased cleaning 
  • staggered pick-up and drop-off times
  • limit the number of essential visitors entering the facility
  • have children sleep two metres apart during nap time
  • create groups so the same children are together every day
  • limit contact with other groups in the centre
  • practise social distancing

The announcement says families won’t have to pay if they can’t access their child care spaces or are unready to return. Providers will receive funding on a sliding scale until September as they increase their capacity from 50% as per the new rules.

Don’t stand so close to me
As parks and public spaces reopen, officials are still working out the balance between public access and health regulations. In Antigonish, the local government recently re-closed a popular new skate park. Despite visits to the park from bylaw officers and RCMP, residents complained it was too crowded. “We’ve worked so hard the last eight weeks to make sure our hospital wasn’t stressed with extra cases of COVID-19,” says mayor Laurie Boucher. “We can’t just give up now.” Drake Lowthers has the story in The Reporter.

Local organization awarded for rural development
Ignite labs is a “rural innovation hub” that helps businesses launch and grow in rural Nova Scotia. Lately, its team has been busier than ever helping businesses deal with COVID’s effects and recently, it won a national award for its work. The Canada Innovation & Entrepreneurship Awards (AKA the CANIE Awards) celebrate “innovation and entrepreneurship.” The Pictou Advocate reports.

Point Pleasant Park.

Take a break
When Dorothy Grant was a child in the 1930s and ’40s, Point Pleasant Park was an oasis, a halcyon escape for her working-class family. In this warm new essay for Halifax Magazine, she travels back to those days, recalling how much it meant to her to have a place to escape the urban grime. “We lived on the third floor of a building that faced a dismal asphalt street,” she says. “For us, all that mattered were the glorious purple flowers that grew in great abandon [at Point Pleasant].”

Need to know
Know a community group, good cause, or inspiring local story we should share? Email the editor.

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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