Roundup: 92 COVID cases in N.S. hospitals, sweeping powers for police, record bookings at Keji, pizzerias prosper through pandemic, charges after Richmond Co. home invasion

Premier Iain Rankin. Photo: CNS

Nova Scotia has 1,531 known active cases of COVID-19, with 126 new cases and 103 recoveries reported in the latest government update. There are 92 people hospitalized with the disease, including 21 in ICU.

“Today’s numbers are a clear reminder that while we are on the right track, we cannot let down our guard,” Premier Iain Rankin says in a press release.

As community spread continues in the Central Zone, health officials are monitoring the rest of the province, and say they see “areas of concern” in Sydney, Bridgewater, and the Annapolis Valley (from New Minas to Kentville). Testing has been increased in these areas.

So far, COVID-19 has killed 72 Nova Scotians and 24,948 people across Canada.

Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang are scheduled to webcast an update today at 3 p.m.

Chief Dan Kinsella

Injunction gives police sweeping powers
On Friday, Supreme Court of Nova Scotia Justice Scott Norton granted an injunction giving police broad powers to shut down protests and illegal gatherings during the state of emergency, prohibiting “any rally that would contravene the province’s public health directives.”

The provincial government sought the injunction in response to an anti-public health rally that was planned for Citadel Hill on Saturday. At the event, Halifax Regional Police used their new powers to make multiple arrests. The same day, police also targeted a “Free Palestine COVID-Safe Car Rally” on Inglis Street.

“Despite repeat warnings, there are individuals who are still choosing to bend the rules and take risks,” says Halifax Regional Police Chief Dan Kinsella in a press release. “People must educate themselves on the restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the ones in the court injunction issued on Friday. The current risks are much too great, and we will continue to take all measures at our disposal to protect the public.”

The pro-enforcement position is a shift for Halifax Regional Police, which a few weeks ago “worked with the organizers for days” to ensure a previous anti-mask event went off without arrests or fines.

The injunction is a worrisome escalation in police powers, lawyer David Fraser says on Twitter.

“The order is not limited to the so-called ‘Freedom Rally,’ but gives the police a massive amount of power to arrest anyone deemed to be ‘illegally gathering,’ with a real risk of a criminal record as a result,” he explains. “The judge’s reasons are based on large-scale planned or possible rallies, but the order and resulting police powers are not as restricted. Two kids playing one-on-one basketball is likely an illegal gathering and they can be arrested.”

Record bookings at Keji
As Nova Scotians prepare for another pandemic summer of close-to-home vacations, Kejimkujik National Park is on track for its busiest year yet. When camping reservations opened on April 23, some 11,000 people snatched up bookings, more than doubling the previous record.

“We were so excited because we knew that we had so much new to present to the visitors, and for the fact that we were closed in 2020 for construction and maintenance,” says Sophie Borcoman, visitor experience manager at the park. “We were really pleased that our loyal Keji customers that have been coming for multiple generations were really keen to come back, and obviously there was a lot of interest from new campers out there who’ve never been to Keji.”

Due to the pandemic, park services are suspended until June 1.

Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

Steven Laffoley

The craft of life
During a late evening effort to escape the pandemic-ridden present, author Steven Laffoley slipped into the past by rekindling an old acquaintanceship with Geoffrey Chaucer and his poem The Parliament of Fowls—a long, romantic dream.

Laffoley recounts that he’s always found the opening line to the poem compelling: “The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.” Chaucer, with his always alluring alliteration, is said to have composed the line in reference to the craft of writing, though in the context of his poem, the words refer to the craft of love.

“I think what I find so compelling about the line is its humility,” Laffoley writes. “Whether describing the craft of medicine, writing, love, or life, there is always far more craft to learn than there is life ahead to learn it, which may well be the most important life lesson we can absorb—and teach.”

In this new Halifax Magazine essay, Laffoley reflects what the pandemic teaches us about the endless journey of living and learning.

Pizzerias prosper through pandemic
While many small businesses are struggling to survive the pandemic, it’s a golden age for the pizza delivery business, as the owners of A-1 Pizza can attest. Their pizzeria recently expanded from Port Hawkesbury, adding new locations in Pictou and Stellarton.

And Stellarton mayor Danny MacGillivray is happy to welcome them.

“In a year where we’ve been told to shut down and stay close to home, we’ve been very fortunate to see growth in our business community,” he says.

Jackie Jardine and Raissa Tetanish have more for The Pictou Advocate.

Charges after home invasion
Two men face charges following a violent home invasion in Richmond County.

According to police, at about 2:36 a.m. on May 8, two men kicked in a home’s door, threatening and assaulting the 59-year-old occupant. “The male victim suffered minor injuries but did not require medical treatment,” RCMP Cpl. Chris Marshall says. “The victim was able to identify one of the men as he was known to him.”

Daniel James McMullin, 58, of Loch Lomond, and Kyle Sparrow, 37, of New Waterford, are both charged with assault, uttering threats to kill, and break and enter to a residence. McMullin also faces additional charges of possession of a prohibited weapon and unsafe storage of a firearm, in relation to a gun that police found while arresting him.

The Reporter has details.

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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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