Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, announced today, March 19, that the New Brunswick border is opening and remaining restrictions in parts of Halifax Regional Municipality and surrounding communities will be lifted. Both changes are effective at 8 a.m. tomorrow, March 20.
“We look forward to reopening the entire Atlantic bubble but in the meantime, with case numbers declining, we are comfortable opening the New Brunswick border,” said Premier Rankin. “We know many businesses and families need to cross this border frequently and we don’t want to delay their return to normal travel routines.”
Just like residents of Prince Edward Island, residents of New Brunswick will no longer have to self-isolate upon arrival in Nova Scotia, and they won’t have to complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in form. Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador must still follow these requirements.
“Along with opening the New Brunswick border, we’re now in a position to lift the additional restrictions in areas of Halifax Regional Municipality and surrounding communities,” said Dr. Strang. “The virus is still here, though, and everyone needs to remain vigilant if we want to avoid imposing restrictions again. Even as people start getting vaccinated, we need to continue following all the public health measures until the majority of Nova Scotians have immunity.”
There are a few changes to the provincewide restrictions:
- the general gathering limit remains at 10 indoors and outdoors
- household gatherings will be increased from maximum 10 to households plus up to 10 others
- immediate family members who live in the same household can be together outdoors even if that is more than 10 people
- restaurants and licensed establishments can stop service by 11 p.m. and close by midnight
- fitness facilities continue to operate at 75 per cent capacity but can return to two metres between people for all activities
With restrictions lifted, the following is also allowed provincewide:
- events hosted by a recognized business or organization can have 150 outdoors or 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 100 indoors
- events include social events, special events, sport events, arts and culture events, festivals, faith gatherings, weddings with receptions, and funerals with receptions and visitation
- meetings and training hosted by recognized businesses and organizations can have 150 outdoors or 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 100 indoors and organized clubs can break into cohorts of 15 following the day-camp guidelines
- physical distancing is required for meetings and training except when emergency responders need to be closer than two metres for training
- licensed establishments, unlicensed establishments such as community centres and charities, and organized clubs can host activities such as darts, cards, pool, bowling, bingo or karaoke following guidelines for these activities
- visitors are allowed in long-term care facilities
- visitors are allowed in adult residential centres and regional rehabilitation centres licensed by the Department of Community Services and residents can resume full community access
- retail businesses and malls operate at 75 per cent capacity and follow other public health measures
- sports practices, training and games and arts and culture rehearsals and performances can have 60 people without physical distancing
- sports games, competitions and tournaments are allowed within the team’s regular competitive schedule
- spectators are allowed if the business or organization hosting the event has a gathering plan that follows event guidelines and the process outlined within those guidelines
Adult day programs for seniors remain closed provincewide until seniors living outside long-term care facilities have an opportunity to receive COVID-19 vaccine.
COVID-19 protocols in public schools continue to be guided by Nova Scotia’s Back to School Plan.
People who do not follow the gathering limit can be fined. The fine is $1,000 for each person at an illegal gathering.
- guidelines for activities such as darts, cards, pool, bowling, bingo or karaoke are available at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/docs/COVID-19-Games-and-activities-licensed-establishments.pdf
- guidelines for venues and facilities are available at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/docs/Developing-COVID-19-Facility-Plan.pdf
- guidelines for events are available at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/docs/Events-theatres-and-venues-COVID-19-prevention-guidelines.pdf
- guidelines for day camps are available at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/docs/COVID-19-Return-to-Day-Camp-Guidelines.pdf
COVID-19 self-assessment: https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en
Nova Scotia coronavirus website: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/
Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus
Government of Canada information line 1-833-784-4397 (toll-free)
The Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24/7 to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, or someone concerned about them, by calling 1-888-429-8167 (toll-free)
Kids Help Phone is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free)
For help or information about domestic violence 24/7, call 1-855-225-0220 (toll-free)