News release

New Restrictions; Province, Health System Working to Increase Capacity

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, Premier Stephen McNeil and Minister of Health and Wellness Randy Delorey announced today, March 18, measures to further prevent the spread of COVID-19 and increase capacity within the health system to respond.

Effective immediately:

  • doctors and pharmacists have new options for virtual care, using telephone and secure videoconferencing
  • pharmacists can renew prescriptions for most medications and government will cover the assessment fee
  • employers cannot require a doctor’s note if an employee must be off work
  • College of Physicians and Surgeons waiving the fee for retired doctors to renew their licences so they can come back to work
  • retired and other nurses are being brought into the system to assist with 811 staffing
  • all service providers funded through the Department of Community Services’ Disability Support Program - including social enterprises, day programs, and supported employment programs for adults with diverse abilities will close to participants and the public

Effective midnight Thursday, March 19, personal service and fitness establishments such as hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons, body art establishments and gyms must shut down.

“We are working together with Nova Scotians to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure our health system can respond rapidly to those who need assessment and treatment,” said Dr. Strang. “It’s critical that we all our part to reduce the transmission of the virus through social distancing and self-isolation, when necessary, and that we look out for each other.”

Anyone who has travelled outside of Canada must self-isolate for 14 days when they return to Nova Scotia. If you have been in close contact with someone who has travelled and are experiencing fever (above 38 C) and/or new cough should complete the online questionnaire before calling 811. The online questionnaire can be found at:

Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets at .

Quick Facts:

  • testing numbers are updated daily at
  • Nova Scotia’s Health Protection Act gives the chief medical officer of health the authority to give advice to protect public health and decrease risk to public health presented by communicable diseases such as COVID-19

Additional Resources:

Nova Scotia Health Authority:

IWK Health Centre:

The Public Health Agency of Canada maintains a list of affected areas:

Government of Canada:

Government of Canada toll-free information line 1-833-784-4397

Nova Scotia Public Health offices: