Roundup: Phase 5 delayed, Conservative candidate apologizes for racist posts, suspicious fire at South Shore racetrack, farmer finds new way to prepare harvest

Dr. Robert Strang (right) and health minister Michelle Thompson. Photo: CNS

With 66 new cases of COVID-19 reported yesterday, the provincial government is delaying Nova Scotia’s move into the final phase of the reopening plan.

“Given where things are here, as well as in New Brunswick and P.E.I., I’m not comfortable moving into Phase 5 just yet,” says Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “It’s far better to wait until we’re ready to implement our proof of vaccination policy … When we loosen restrictions to allow larger gatherings, our new policy will be in place to allow these gatherings to happen as safely as possible. It will also give us time to understand the current clusters and monitor for any spread.”

The vaccine passport system is set to begin Oct. 4, the new target date for Phase 5.

“I know this is not welcome news, especially for businesses that have been waiting for us to fully reopen,” Strang adds. “I know we’re all tired, or many people are tired, of wearing masks and being restricted by gathering limits, but unfortunately the pandemic is not done with us yet.”

The government is allowing some events that are scheduled for before then to proceed, if they’ve already sold tickets and require attendees to be fully vaccinated and masked.

The government offered more details about the vaccine passport in a press release yesterday. That proof will be necessary to patronize many non-essential services, including:

  • Full-service restaurants, both indoors and on patios
  • Liquor licensed establishments, casinos, and other gaming venues, both indoors and on patios
  • Indoor and outdoor fitness and recreation facilities
  • Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities and businesses such as dance and music lessons, climbing facilities, escape rooms, pottery painting, indoor play places, arcades, shooting ranges, and go-carts
  • Indoor and outdoor festivals, special events, and arts and culture events and venues such as theatre performances, concerts and movie theatres, excluding outdoor events held in public spaces with no specific entry point (such as Nocturne)
  • Outdoor sports practices and events
  • Indoor and outdoor extracurricular school-based activities
  • Bus, boat, and walking tours
  • Museums, public libraries, and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
  • Indoor and outdoor events and activities such as receptions, social events, conferences, and training
  • Indoor and outdoor weddings and funerals, receptions, and visitations.

Nova Scotia has 173 known active cases of COVID-19.

Unravel your city
Today, we’re proud to launch our newest publication.

Replacing Halifax Magazine, Unravel is a re-energized and refocused title. We’ll continue to highlight the things that make our city special, but also champion the changemakers and challenge our injustices.

In our first issue, we assembled a roundtable of the people who are working to make Halifax a more progressive and inclusive city, one where we all rise together. Activist Rebecca Thomas, GameChangers902 co-founder Kate Macdonald, Dr. Margaret Casey, recent mayoral candidate Max Taylor, and Halifax Pride chair Frances Dadin-Alli had a lively and candidate conversation.

It began with Macdonald highlighting Halifax’s big challenge: we take pride in our Maritime warmth, compassion, and folksiness, but allow historic injustices and systemic racism to drag on.

“When I was growing up, I thought Halifax was about the people,” says Kate Macdonald, an activist and artist of African Nova Scotian descent. “That’s why we got the reputation that we have — not because we have shiny buildings, but because of the way people are here, whatever the rep is.” 

Read the full story by Janet Whitman.

Conservative candidate apologizes for racist posts
Steven Cotter, the Conservative federal candidate in Central Nova, is apologizing after media reports about his history of racist, Islamophobic, and anti-immigrant Facebook posts.

“Islamophobia has no place in Nova Scotia, and I promise that I will take time to engage in reflection and learning,” Cotter says. “I will be reaching out this week to my local mosque to begin that process.”

Liberal incumbent Sean Fraser says Cotter’s cast doubts on his ability to perform as an MP.

“Systemic racism and Islamophobia in particular have been high profile issues in Canada’s political discourse over the past few years,” he adds. “It is hard to conclude that someone with a history of sharing offensive Facebook posts that spread false and harmful stereotypes about immigrants and Muslim Canadians will advance policies on these matters in a positive way.”

Drake Lowthers has more for The Reporter.

Photo: Tracy Fox

Suspicious fire at Queens County racetrack
Police believe someone deliberately set a Sept. 12 fire at Roughneck Off-Road Racing in Liverpool, the blaze coming at the same time as a break-in at the site’s canteen.

Twenty local fire fighters battled the blazes for about 90 minutes, as three disused cars burned.

“Thankfully it was spotted quickly,” says racetrack president Pam Inness-Westhaver. “It could have been a lot worse.”

During the break-in, someone stole $300 worth of supplies and a propane tank. RCMP investigators found a beer can at the scene.

Kevin McBain reports for LighthouseNow.

Farm finds new way to prepare harvest
Pictou County farmer Murray Coolican was looking for a way to quickly dry greens after harvest and cleaning, without buying expensive equipment.

He found a solution in his laundry room: the washing machine’s spin cycle.

All he needed to do was make a few simple modifications.

“I just bought the plans,” he says, adding that used washers are much cheaper than an industrial spinner. “Other farmers were trying to find a way to do this without buying an expensive unit.”

Steve Goodwin interviews him for The Pictou Advocate.

Look for the next edition of the Roundup on Sept. 20.

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