HALIFAX -- The COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus have put distance between families, even during times of grief.

Beverly Ann MacKinnon was born in September 1948. She died Tuesday morning after a short battle with Stage 4 gastric cancer.

“I really feel heartbroken. Yeah, heartbroken really,” says Mike Moschella, MacKinnon’s son.

Moschella, who lives in Ontario, was not able to be by his mother's side during her final hours.

New regulations in Nova Scotia state anyone travelling from outside the province must self-isolate for 14 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic -- days Moschella did not have.

He feels there should be exceptions to the rules for special circumstances.

“I just thought with some proper (personal protective equipment) they would be able to give me a face mask and shield, gloves, a suit of some sort, put her in an isolated room and allow her to see some family before she passes,” says Moschella.

MacKinnon was visiting family in Cape Breton just three weeks ago when she received the devastating cancer diagnosis.

“I just feel like I was up front with everybody and there's measures in place and if you know the hazard, you can protect against them,” says Moschella. “I was heartbroken, but I was told my mom passed away in peace.”

In an email to CTV News, the Nova Scotia Health Authority said doctors and nurses have the right to refuse visitors at any time.

“In these circumstances, when it is clear death is approaching, one visitor will be allowed to be with the patient. If actively dying, the health care team may allow a second person to be present."

In the end, Moschella is grateful for his mother's friend, who stood by her side for her final 24 hours.