Roundup: COVID vaccinations underway, holiday restrictions, developer destroys priceless artifact, housing crisis continues, Liverpool alumni fight students’ inclusivity efforts

A nurse gets prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: CNS

As COVID-19 vaccinations begin in Nova Scotia, the province has 55 known active cases of COVID-19, with four new cases reported in the latest government update. Nova Scotia Health Authority labs completed 2,232 tests on Dec. 15.

Restrictions remain for holidays
Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, announced yesterday that they’re extending restrictions in HRM and Hants County, and implementing new rules provincewide over the holidays to curb the spread of COVID-19.

  • Current restrictions in areas of HRM and Hants County are extended until Dec. 20.
  • The closure of restaurants and licensed establishments for dine-in service in these areas is extended until Jan. 10.
  • Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax will remain closed until Jan. 10.

New provincewide restrictions for gatherings, businesses, and activities, plus changes to long-term care restrictions, will start Dec. 21 and continue until Jan. 10

  • Gatherings in homes can include 10 people total, including the people who live there.
  • People can have a close social group of 10 without physical distancing.
  • Social events, festivals, special events, arts/cultural events, and sports events are not permitted.
  • Faith gatherings, weddings and funerals can have a maximum of 150 people outdoors or 50% of an indoor venue’s capacity, to a maximum of 100
  • Wedding and funeral receptions are banned.
Premier McNeil and Dr. Strang visit a vaccination clinic. Photo: CNS

The government continues to ask Nova Scotians to avoid unnecessary travel but is no longer warning against travel into and out of areas of HRM and Hants County.

“We want to let people have their holiday with loved ones but this holiday needs to be different to keep everybody safe,” Strang says in a press release. “We need to keep gatherings small, pull back on our social activity, and avoid crowds in the retail sector so that we don’t give this virus the opportunity to spread.”

Hindsight is 2020
At the start of the year, things were looking rosy both for Mayor Mike Savage and HRM.

Facing unpopular populist Matt Whitman in the upcoming mayoral election, he was already on track for an easy win. HRM was enjoying solid economic growth and was expecting another strong tourism season.

Mayor Mike Savage

COVID hit, then the mass shooting—in the span of a few weeks, 2020’s promise evaporated. “These things hit us all personally,” Savage says. “It’s been a very difficult year for all of us. I feel very blessed and fortunate to have an amazing family. I work with amazing people on a daily basis, but I sure as heck look forward to the day when whatever the new normal is [arrives]; I say bring it on.”

In this new Halifax Magazine feature by Ameeta Vohra, Mayor Savage and Councillor Lisa Blackburn reflect on the year that was and share their hopes for 2021.

Reid House. Photo: NS Heritage Department

Developer destroys priceless artifact
The Reid House in Avonport predated Confederation, the French Revolution, and the American War of Independence. Built in the 1760s, the Acadian farmhouse was one of the oldest intact buildings in the province and an invaluable window into our past.

And now it’s gone, destroyed by Halifax-based Nanco Developments despite its heritage protections. Provincial officials are promising an investigation, but nothing will restore what the bulldozers destroyed. In this letter to The Light, a concerned reader looks at the magnitude of the loss.

Housing crisis continues
Despite recent temporary government measures to control rent and cut down on evictions, Nova Scotia’s housing crisis continues. New Glasgow’s Mary Richards is one of many looking for an affordable place to live. Her current lease expires in March and her search for a place she and her three grandchildren can live is growing desperate.

“Some of the landlords, they don’t want children,” she says. “Even when they find out they’re teenagers, the landlords don’t want to rent to you… What’s going to happen in March? I don’t know.” Raissa Tetanish reports for The Pictou Advocate.

Liverpool alumni fight students’ inclusivity efforts
Since the 1960s, a hackneyed caricature of a Native man has represented the Liverpool Warriors. Now students at Liverpool Regional High School are pushing to change the logo.

“You can see it is quite offensive,” says Grade 12 student Jordyn Duffney, a leader of the campaign. “I feel, as a school, we can’t confidently go to games, competitions without knowing if we are offending anybody in the audience, or how people are going to see our logo.”

A survey shows that most students support the effort, but many alumni are protesting, claiming the crude illustration is a show of respect. “I believe the logo is a symbol of admiration with respect for the Indigenous people and their history in our community,” says 2006 graduate Leanne Balcom. “Taking it away seems more disrespectful in my opinion.”

Kevin Mcbain has the story for LighthouseNow.

Editor’s Note: The Halifax Magazine Roundup is taking a holiday break. Look for the next edition on Jan. 4, 2021.

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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