Coronavirus (COVID-19): restriction updates

Measures put in place to help contain the spread of COVID-19 are gradually changing. As restrictions change, you need to continue to follow public health directives for gathering and social distancing.

  1. Mar



    1 March 2021

    • Rotational workers who don’t have symptoms are required to get tested for COVID-19 during their modified self-isolation. They need to get tested on day 1 or 2. If they’re still in Nova Scotia, they need to get tested again on day 6, 7 or 8  and day 12, 13 or 14. Rotational workers also need to self-isolate for the full 14 days, even with negative test results.
    • Specialized workers who don’t have symptoms are required to get tested for COVID-19 during their modified self-isolation. They need to get tested on day 1 or 2. If they’re still in Nova Scotia, they need to get tested again on day 6, 7 or 8  and day 12, 13 or 14. Specialized workers also need to self-isolate for the full 14 days other than when they’re working, even with negative test results.
    • Individuals travelling for child custody reasons, including dropping off, picking up or visiting, need to follow the COVID-19 Protocol for Child Custody (PDF) when entering Nova Scotia from outside Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

    Feb



    27 February 2021

    10 February 2021

    • Travel within Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island is permitted without the requirement to self-isolate when you arrive in or return to Nova Scotia (Atlantic travel bubble).
    • People travelling into Nova Scotia from outside Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island for non-essential reasons must self-isolate alone or with others who are self-isolating for the same period. If there are other people in the home, they must also self-isolate (everyone in the home where the traveller is self-isolating needs to self-isolate).

    8 February 2021

    • Retail stores need to follow the Health Protection Act Order, including limiting shoppers and staff to 75% of the store's capacity.
    • Fitness establishments (like gyms and yoga studios) need to follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plan, including operating at 75% capacity and maintaining a minimum physical distance of 3 metres (9 feet) between participants during high intensity activities (indoor and outdoor).
    • Recognized businesses and organizations can host in-person events and activities (indoors or outdoors), including:
      • arts and culture events
      • sports (recreational, amateur and professional), recreational and physical activity events
      • festivals
      • special events
      • social events
      • faith gatherings, weddings and funerals (including receptions and visitation)
      • bingo, darts and other activities hosted by licensed and unlicensed establishments following the Guidelines for Games and activities in licensed establishments (PDF 434 kB)

      Events and activities can only provide food and alcohol service until 10pm and must end by 11pm. Sport events may continue after 11pm if there’s extended time of play like overtime, but food and alcohol service must end by 10pm.

      Businesses and organizations need to make sure everyone in attendance follows the Health Protection Act Order.

    • Indoor gathering limit with social distancing for events and activities hosted by a recognized business or organization - 50% of the venue’s capacity up to 100 people maximum indoors (including spectators of sports and performing arts).
    • Outdoor gathering limit with social distancing for events and activities hosted by a recognized business or organization - 150 people maximum outdoors (including spectators of sports and performing arts).
    • Gathering limit with social distancing for meetings and training (indoor and outdoor) - 150 people maximum outdoors or 50% of the venue’s capacity up to 100 people maximum indoors when meetings and training are hosted by a recognized business or organization, including:
      • provincial and municipal governments
      • private businesses and organizations
      • first responder organizations (emergency first responders are exempt from social distancing when necessary)
      • mental health and addictions support groups
      • organized clubs (meetings can follow Guidelines for Return to Day Camp (PDF 525 kB) to have groups with up to 15 people in each group without maintaining a physical distance of two metres (6 feet); different groups of 15 must maintain physical distance)
    • Spectators and audience members are permitted at events (including sports, recreational and physical activity events, and arts and cultural events) if they stay in the designated viewing space and maintain a physical distance of two metres (6 feet) from the field of play or performance space. In-person spectators are not permitted at events held at a school.
    • Recognized businesses and organizations hosting events and activities can have multiple groups of up to 100 people in each group if:
      • each group follows indoor and outdoor gathering limits for events and activities hosted by a recognized business or organization
      • the facility accommodates separate entrance and exit, concessions and washrooms for each group
      • the facility makes sure people in attendance follow social distancing guidelines
      • the facility has received Public Health approval of its Workplace COVID-19 Prevention Plan
    • Scotiabank Centre (Halifax) and Centre 200 (Sydney) can host events with multiple groups of up to 150 people.

    Jan



    25 January 2021

    • Gathering limit without social distancing for participants and officials in organized performing arts and sports - participants and officials in performing arts and sports (recreational, amateur and professional) can gather in groups of up to 60 people without social distancing for rehearsals, performances, practices and their regular competitive schedule; in-person spectators are not permitted (performances and games can be hosted virtually).
    • Residents of adult residential centres and regional rehabilitation centres licensed by the Department of Community Services can leave the facility for work or volunteer activities.

    15 January 2021

    • Rotational workers who work in a province or territory outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador or outside Canada must be tested for COVID-19 during their modified self-isolation. They need to get tested 2 times (once on day 1 or 2 and again on day 6, 7 or 8 of their modified self-isolation). Rotational workers also need to self-isolate for the full 14 days, even with negative test results.

    11 January 2021

    • Retail stores need to follow the Health Protection Act Order, including limiting shoppers and staff to 50% of the store's capacity.
    • Wearing a non-medical mask is required in Casino Nova Scotia (Halifax and Sydney) and operating video lottery terminals (VLTs), except when you're eating or drinking.

    9 January 2021

    • Recreational sleepover (overnight) camps held by a recognized business or organization are not permitted.
    • Travel within Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador is permitted without the requirement to self-isolate when you arrive in or return to Nova Scotia (Atlantic travel bubble).
    • People travelling into Nova Scotia from outside Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador for non-essential reasons must self-isolate alone or with others who are self-isolating for the same period. If there are other people in the home, they must also self-isolate (everyone in the home where the traveller is self-isolating needs to self-isolate).

    4 January 2021

    • Halifax and Hants County restaurants can re-open for dine-in service. Restaurants can only serve dine-in customers until 10pm and must close by 11pm. Restaurants can continue to offer take-out, delivery and drive-thru service after 11pm.
    • Halifax and Hants County liquor licensed (drinking) establishments (like bars, wineries, distillery tasting rooms and craft taprooms) can re-open for dine-in service. Liquor licensed (drinking) establishments can only serve dine-in customers until 10pm and must close by 11pm. Liquor licensed establishments can continue to offer take-out, delivery and drive-thru service after 11pm.
  2. Dec



    21 December 2020

    • Households can have gatherings up to 10 people in their home including people who live there without social distancing (if your household is more than 10 people you can't have any visitors); when you go into the community, your household can stay together without social distancing no matter how many people are in the household – when shopping, try to have 1 person from your household go into a store to help keep customers and staff safe. 
    • Gathering limit for close social groups - you can form a close social group of up to 10 people without social distancing; you should try to keep this group consistent.
    • Businesses and organizations are not permitted to host in-person events and activities (indoors or outdoors), including:
      • arts and culture events
      • sports events (recreational, amateur and professional)
      • festivals
      • special events
      • social events
      • wedding and funeral receptions
    • Indoor gathering limit with social distancing for faith gatherings, wedding ceremonies and funeral services that are run by a recognized business or organization - 50% of the venue's capacity up to 100 people maximum indoors (receptions and visitation are not permitted).
    • Outdoor gathering limit with social distancing for faith gatherings, wedding ceremonies and funeral services that are run by a recognized business or organization - 150 people maximum outdoors (receptions and visitation are not permitted).
    • Gathering limit without social distancing for participants and officials in organized performing arts (excluding singing and playing brass or wind instruments) and sports - participants and officials in performing arts and sports (recreational, amateur and professional) can gather in groups of up to 25 people without social distancing for practices and rehearsals; competitions, games, tournaments, performances and spectators are not permitted.
    • Restaurants can only serve dine-in customers until 10pm and must close by 11pm. Restaurants can continue to offer take-out, delivery and drive-thru service after 11pm. 
    • Liquor licensed (drinking) establishments (like bars, wineries, distillery tasting rooms and craft taprooms) can only serve dine-in customers until 10pm and must close by 11pm. Liquor licensed establishments can continue to offer take-out, delivery and drive-thru service after 11pm.
    • Retail stores need to follow the Health Protection Act Order, including:
      • limiting shoppers and staff to 25% of the store's capacity
      • maintaining a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) between patrons
      • keeping music to 50 decibels
      • only allowing lineups (indoor and outdoor) if patrons wear a non-medical mask
    • Shopping malls need to follow the Health Protection Act Order, including:
      • maintaining a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) between patrons
      • only allowing lineups (indoor and outdoor) if patrons wear a non-medical mask
      • lineups for each retail store are no more than 10 people
      • keeping music to 50 decibels
      • non-retail public areas in the mall are closed
      • food courts can remain open with public health measures in place including maintaining a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) between tables
    • Fitness establishments (like gyms and yoga studios) must operate at 50% capacity and follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plan, including:
      • maintaining a minimum physical distance of 3 metres (9 feet) between participants during high intensity activities like spin and boxing classes 
      • staff and members must wear masks when they're not exercising
      • outdoor fitness classes can operate at 100% capacity and must maintain a minimum physical distance of 3 metres (9 feet) between participants during high intensity activities
      • weight rooms, cardio machine areas and fitness classes within sport and recreation facilities must operate at 50% capacity and must maintain a minimum physical distance of 3 metres (9 feet) between participants during high intensity activities.
    • Long-term care facilities can have 2 designated caregivers to help residents with specific caregiving tasks like personal care support, mobility or help with eating. Designated caregivers can be family members, spouses, friends or other support persons, and they must have an established caregiving relationship with the resident before COVID-19.
    • Visits at long-term care facilities can resume with a limited number of visitors. Visits must be scheduled.
    • Wearing a non-medical mask is required in common areas of multi-unit residential buildings (like apartment buildings and condos).
    • Community-based adult day programs for seniors are not permitted, except for respite care.
    • Additional restrictions and protective measures are in place for some Halifax and Hants County locations from 21 December 2020 to 10 January 2021. See Halifax County restriction alerts and Hants County restriction alerts.

    19 December 2020

    • Public schools and pre-primary programs are closed 19 December 2020 to 10 January 2021 (classes resume 11 January). Starting 4 January 2021, public schools and pre-primary programs will open to administrators, teachers and staff at the direction of the school.

    17 December 2020

    2 December 2020

    • Long-term care facilities can only have 1 designated caregiver to help residents with specific caregiving tasks like personal care support, mobility or help with eating. A designated caregiver can be a family member, spouse, friend or other support person, and they must have an established caregiving relationship with the resident before COVID-19.

    Nov



    26 November 2020

    • Avoid non-essential travel to Halifax and Hants County locations that have additional restrictions and protective measures in place. See Halifax County restriction alerts and Hants County restriction alerts.
    • Avoid non-essential travel to other Atlantic provinces (New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador).
    • Long-term care facilities are closed to visitors except for volunteers and designated caregivers.
    • Adult residential centres and regional rehabilitation centres licensed by the Department of Community Services are closed to visitors except for volunteers and designated caregivers.
    • Sports teams (recreational, amateur and professional) are restricted to local and regional play.
    • Extra-curricular activities between schools are not permitted (like clubs, sports and other in-school activities).
    • Additional restrictions and protective measures are in place for some Halifax and Hants County locations from 26 November 2020 to 16 December 2020. See Halifax County restriction alerts and Hants County restriction alerts.

    23 November 2020

    • Restaurants must collect contact information for all table service (dine-in) patrons. Contact information needs to include date and time of visit, name and phone number and must be kept for 4 weeks from date of visit for contact tracing purposes.
    • Liquor licensed (drinking) establishments (like bars, wineries, distillery tasting rooms and craft taprooms) must collect contact information for all table service (dine-in) patrons. Contact information needs to include date and time of visit, name and phone number and must be kept for 4 weeks from date of visit for contact tracing purposes.
    • Residents of long-term care facilities can only leave the facility for medical and dental appointments.
    • A designated caregiver can take a resident of a long-term care facility for a sightseeing car ride, but they can’t have additional passengers in the car or stop along the way (like stopping for shopping, visiting or going through a drive-thru). Off-site sightseeing trips for residents of long-term care facilities using facility vehicles can continue, but there can’t be stops along the way (like stopping for shopping, visiting or going through a drive-thru).
    • Additional gathering limit restrictions and protective measures are in place for some Halifax and Hants County locations from 23 November 2020 to 21 December 2020. See Halifax County restriction alerts and Hants County restriction alerts.

    9 November 2020

    • People travelling into Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada for non-essential reasons must self-isolate alone or with others who are self-isolating for the same period. If there are other people in the home, they must also self-isolate (everyone in the home where the traveller is self-isolating needs to self-isolate).

    6 November 2020

    • Liquor licensed (drinking) establishments (like bars, wineries, distillery tasting rooms and craft taprooms) can hold games and activities if they follow the Health Protection Act Order and guidance from Public Health (PDF).

      Liquor licensed (drinking) establishments must meet all conditions in the Health Protection Act Order, including:
      • ensuring patrons remain seated at their table, except while waiting to be seated, going to the bathroom, participating in a game or activity and getting ready to leave

    Oct



    16 October 2020

    • Restaurants can serve customers until 1am (food and alcohol removed from tables by 2 am). Staff (servers and kitchen) must wear masks while at work.
    • Liquor licensed (drinking) establishments (like bars, wineries, distillery tasting rooms and craft taprooms) can serve customers until 1am (food and alcohol removed from tables by 2am). Staff (servers and kitchen) must wear masks while at work.

    1 October 2020

    • Gathering limit increased to 50 people without social distancing for participants in performing arts and sports. Participants in performing arts and sports can gather in groups of up to 50 people without maintaining a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) for practices, competitions, games, rehearsals and artistic performances. This includes players, participants, officials, coaches, instructors, performers, directors, cast, crew and anyone who is required to be on or near a field of play or within a performance space.

      The limit increase also applies to recreational league sports (like adult hockey) and drop-in activities (like open swims and skates). Unorganized or casual games (like pick-up basketball or soccer in the park) must follow the gathering limit with social distancing for sports (spectators and participants) and unorganized physical activity that are not run by a recognized business or organization.

      While masks are not required during physical activity, participants in performing arts and sports are encouraged to wear a mask and keep as much social distancing as possible.

    Sep



    28 September 2020

    • Residents of long-term care facilities can leave the facility to visit with family in their homes. Off-site visits must be pre-arranged with the facility. Overnight visits or visits outside Atlantic Canada are not permitted.

    22 September 2020

    15 September 2020

    • Day programs, supported employment and social enterprise service providers funded through the Department of Community Services’ Disability Support Program can open with an approved plan that meets public health guidelines.

    11 September 2020

    • Long-term care facilities can resume having designated caregivers help residents with specific caregiving tasks like personal care support, mobility or help with eating. Designated caregivers can be family members, spouses, friends or other support people, and they must have an established caregiving relationship with the resident before COVID-19.
  3. Aug



    26 August 2020

    • Indoor visits at long-term care facilities (1 visitor at a time per resident) no longer require residents or their substitute decision makers to identify and designate a limited number of visitors.
    • Residents of long-term care facilities can now leave the facility for medical appointments when accompanied by family members.
    • Community-based adult day programs can resume with an approved plan that meets public health guidelines.
    • Before-school programs and after-school programs can open with up to 15 children in each group without maintaining a physical distance of two metres (6 feet). Different groups of 15 must maintain physical distance. Programs need to follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plans. Sector-specific plans should follow guidance from Public Health.

    20 August 2020

  4. Jul



    31 July 2020

    • Wearing a non-medical mask is required in most indoor public places. Children under 2 are exempt, as well as children 2 to 4 when their caregiver can't get them to wear a mask. People with a valid medical reason for not wearing a mask are also exempt. Schools, day cares and day camps continue to follow their sector-specific plans.

    24 July 2020

    22 July 2020

    • Indoor visits can resume at long-term care facilities with 1 visitor at a time per resident (residents or their substitute decision makers can designate up to 3 people as visitors but only 1 may visit at a time). Outdoor visits can have up to 5 visitors per resident. Visits must be scheduled.

      During visits, residents and visitors need to:
    • Residents and staff at long-term care facilities can gather in groups of 10 for dining, recreation and socializing without social distancing. Groups should remain consistent and visitors can't join.
    • Licensed hair salons in long-term care facilities can reopen to serve residents only.
    • Off-site sightseeing bus trips for residents at long-term care facilities can resume for groups of up to 10 people (including residents, staff and driver). Residents and staff need to stay on the bus. Buses need to be thoroughly cleaned before and after each trip.

    3 July 2020

  5. Jun



    26 June 2020

    • Privately operated campgrounds can operate at 100% capacity if they follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plan.
    • Public pools can reopen if they follow the Health Protection Act Order and the Nova Scotia Lifesaving Society plan for change rooms and washrooms.

      Public pools must meet all conditions in the Health Protection Act Order, including:
      • maintaining a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) for lane swimming and aquafit classes
      • allowing 1 or more groups of 10 for other activities based on pool size

    • Restaurants can reopen table service (dine-in) if they follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plan. Restaurants can continue to offer take-out and delivery service. See the sector-specific plan for the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia.

      Restaurants must meet all conditions in the Health Protection Act Order, including:

      • maintaining a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) or a physical barrier between tables, booths and single seats
      • not exceeding 100% of the restaurant's capacity
      • not permitting any single group within the restaurant to exceed 10 people
      • stopping service by midnight
      • ensuring patrons remain seated at their table, except while waiting to be seated, going to the bathroom and getting ready to leave
      • closing by 1am

    • Liquor licensed (drinking) establishments (like bars, wineries, distillery tasting rooms and craft taprooms) can reopen if they follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plan.

      Liquor licensed (drinking) establishments must meet all conditions in the Health Protection Act Order, including:
      • maintaining a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) or a physical barrier between tables, booths and single seats
      • not exceeding 100% of the establishment's capacity
      • not permitting any single group within the establishment to exceed 10 people
      • providing food and alcohol for in-seat service only, delivered to the table by staff, and ensuring food and alcohol is kept at the table
      • ensuring patrons comply with physical distancing requirements
      • ensuring patrons remain seated at their table, except while waiting to be seated, going to the bathroom and getting ready to leave
      • stopping service by midnight
      • closing by 1am

    18 June 2020

    15 June 2020

    • Provincial campgrounds open at a reduced capacity.
    • Family daycare homes under a family home daycare agency (licensed childcare providers) can reopen if they follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plan. The sector-specific plan should follow guidance from Public Health.
    • Daycare facilities (licensed daycare facilities) can reopen if they follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plan. The sector-specific plan should follow guidance from Public Health.
    • Outdoor visits can resume at long-term care facilities if visitors stay two metres (6 feet) away from residents and staff.

    12 June 2020

    • Summer day camps can open with up to 10 people in each individual camp group within the summer day camp if they follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plans. Sector-specific plans should follow guidance from Public Health.

    5 June 2020

    • Casino Nova Scotia (Halifax and Sydney) can reopen if they follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plan.
    • Business owners can operate video lottery terminals (VLTs) if they follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plan.
    • Restaurants can reopen for table service (dine-in) if they follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plan.
    • Liquor licensed (drinking) establishments (like bars, wineries, distillery tasting rooms and craft taprooms) can reopen if they follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plan.
    • Personal services (like hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons and body art establishments) can reopen if they follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plans.
    • Fitness establishments (like gyms, yoga studios and climbing facilities) can reopen if they follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plans.
    • Self-regulated health professions can provide in-person or virtual care services if they follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plans.
    • Unregulated (non-regulated) health professions can provide in-person or virtual care services if they follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plans.
    • Veterinarians can reopen for in-person care to animals if they follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plan.
    • Privately operated campgrounds can open for all types of campers if they follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plan.
    • Outdoor community celebration of graduates are allowed in June 2020 if they follow the Health Protection Act Order and meet all required conditions.
  6. May



    29 May 2020

    • Gathering limit is no more than 10 people.
    • Gathering limit for weddings and funerals is no more than 10 people indoors or 15 people outdoors (excluding the person conducting the ceremony).
    • Privately operated campgrounds can open for seasonal lot renters (renters with fixed RVs) and temporary campers.
    • Sport training is permitted.
    • Pools can begin maintenance work to prepare for the season.
    • Recreational sleepover (overnight) camps are cancelled for 2020.

    16 May 2020

    • Golf courses can reopen.
    • Provincial and municipal beaches can reopen.
    • Outdoor sports facilities for archery, equestrian, golf, paddling, sailing, boating and tennis are permitted to open (no organized sports, classes, lessons, coaching, competitions, tournaments or practices at facilities).
    • Sportfishing from provincial and municipal beaches is permitted.
    • social gatherings outside your family household bubble are permitted (you need to follow social distancing guidelines and gathering restrictions).

    15 May 2020

    • Family household bubbles are permitted and exempt from the gathering limit and social distancing.

    1 May 2020

    • Provincial and municipal parks can reopen.
    • Trails can reopen.
    • Community gardens can reopen.
    • Private campgrounds can open for seasonal lot renters (renters with fixed RVs) that don't require the use of onsite amenities like washroom facilities, store, restaurant, activity center, playground and picnic tables.
    • Sportfishing from shore or boat is permitted.
    • Residents can use their cottages, with their family or household unit.
    • Sailing and boating clubs can open to allow people to prepare their boats for the season (food service in marinas is limited to takeout).
    • Golf courses can begin maintenance work to prepare for the season.
    • Golf driving ranges can reopen, including those on golf courses.
    • Drive-in religious services are allowed.
    • Garden centres, nurseries and similar businesses can open.
    • School grounds and sports fields can reopen (children's playgrounds remain closed).