HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia's top doctor has launched a social media meme with his comments imploring residents to cease shopping for non-essential items, including Birkenstock sandals offered at sale prices.

As the province hit record-high numbers of new COVID-19 positive cases on Friday, Dr. Robert Strang referenced a sale of the sandals at Costco, where they were being sold for just under $60.

Strang said during a briefing that "it is not the time to go to Costco for sandals you heard were in stock. It's critical you limit your trips."

Former premier Stephen McNeil, who during the province's first wave famously coined the phrase "Stay the Blazes home," later posted a tweet of his feet in old Birkenstocks, writing, "Listen to the Good Doctor: this is not the time."

This set off other postings from Nova Scotians, including one woman wearing multi-coloured, plastic fish sandals as her personal reminder to stay home.

Despite chilly, freezing rain outdoors, Strang posted his own tweet of his feet in old Birkenstocks, responding to the premier under the hashtag .thisisnotthetime.

Not all social media users got on board.

"People of Nova Scotia need to stop showing their feet...We get you have sandals already," wrote one Twitter user. "Whip dee doo da day!"

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2021.