N.S. unveils new rule restricting travel for sports for kids 11 and under

The Nova Scotia government has announced new rules for children 11 and under that restrict kids from travelling out of province for arts or sports games, competitions and tournaments. 

The restrictions go into effect immediately, and also apply to children travelling to the province — meaning local organizations, businesses and individuals can’t include kids 11 and under from outside Nova Scotia as participants. 

Dr. Robert Strang, the chief medical officer of health, said the province has seen “a fair amount of exposure and cases” relating to sports and community-based activities, including tournaments and events in neighbouring provinces.

“We felt that it’s a reasonable step to remove one layer of risk at this point in time while maintaining access to lots of activities closer to home,” Strang said.

He said imposing the restrictions will also allow a greater possibility of kids remaining in school.

Rules to be re-evaluated next month

The rules do not apply to children travelling as spectators or to regular practices, lessons and rehearsals because those activities are considered “lower risk because they are interacting with the same group all the time,” according to a news release from the province.

The province plans to re-evaluate the restrictions in January. 

Asked whether the new rules are meant to convince parents to get their children vaccinated, Strang said the restrictions are not intended as a coercive measure.

“This is not about coercing anything,” he said. “This is about putting another layer of safety in while we give families the opportunity to get the five- to 11-year-olds immunized.” 

Vaccines for children aged five to 11 began on Wednesday morning. Strang said as of Monday, appointments had already been booked for 30 per cent of that age group.

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