News release

Border and Other Restrictions to Reduce Spread of COVID-19

Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, announced further restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 today, May 7.

The measures include extended school closures, tighter border restrictions and isolation requirements for rotational workers, and limits on shoppers.

“The situation we’re in right now in Nova Scotia is very serious. Our public health staff are overwhelmed and we need to get things under control,” said Premier Rankin. “We understand that extending province-wide restrictions through May and closing our border is disruptive, but it has to be done. This is about protecting our people and our health-care system.”

Public and private schools will remain closed to students and at-home learning will continue until at least the end of May.

New border measures will take effect at 8 a.m. on Monday, May 10, and will be in place until at least the end of the month:

  • Nova Scotia’s border will close to people intending to move here
  • the border will close to people coming from Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador; it was closed previously to non-essential travel from other provinces

There will be no exceptions for funerals and limited exceptions to be with an immediate family member who is at end of life.

The following people will be allowed to enter Nova Scotia:

  • permanent residents returning to the province
  • people who work outside the province
  • post-secondary students returning home or entering to study; parents from outside Nova Scotia are not allowed pick students up or drop them off
  • people traveling for child custody reasons, following the child custody protocol
  • people who are exempt from self-isolation, following the exempt traveler protocol (for example, long-haul truck drivers, airline crew, first responders, people needing essential health services)
  • people who follow the protocol for travel between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for work, school and child care only

An application process will be added to the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in by May 14 for most travelers. An application process is already in place for specialized workers who are needed for urgent critical infrastructure work that’s crucial for the province to function. Business requests for other workers to enter the province will not be considered.

Effective immediately, rotational workers who are returning home from outbreak zones can no longer do the modified form of self-isolation. They must self-isolate for 14 days in a completely separate space from the other people in their households, but they can share a bathroom that is cleaned between uses. Except for their mandatory COVID-19 testing, they cannot attend medical appointments unless there is an emergency.

“We need to limit movement within and from outside our province and we need everyone to follow the public health measures like people’s lives depend on it – because they do,” said Dr. Strang. “Work from home if at all possible, get your essentials, go to medical appointments, get tested and get vaccinated, go outside for fresh air and exercise. Otherwise, just stay home just like you did last spring.”

Effective at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 8, Nova Scotians will have to designate one shopper per household and retail stores that offer in-person shopping will impose a limit of one shopper per household. Exceptions will be made for children and caregivers.

Retail stores that primarily offer products and services that are essential to the life, health or personal safety of people and animals can continue to provide limited in-person service only to a maximum of 25 per cent of the store capacity in order to limit the number of people inside the store. Essential product categories are:

  • food
  • pharmaceutical products, medicine and medical devices
  • personal hygiene products
  • cleaning products
  • baby and child products
  • gas stations and garages
  • computer and cellphone service and repair
  • electronic and office supplies
  • hardware supplies and home appliances
  • pet and animal supplies
  • gardening supplies
  • workplace safety supplies
  • automobile purchases (by appointment only)
  • laundromats

Nova Scotians are encouraged to order online for pickup or delivery whenever possible. People who have no other option than to shop in person are asked to shop for essential items only, limit their trips to retail stores and limit their time spent shopping.

Nova Scotians are required to remain in their own communities except for essential travel such as for work, necessary shopping and medical appointments including testing and vaccination appointments. Community is mainly defined as one’s municipality. Nova Scotians should remain as close to home as possible.

Additional Resources:

Nova Scotia Safe Check-in form:

Minister’s direction on municipal travel restriction:

COVID-19 self-assessment:

Nova Scotia coronavirus website:

Government of Canada:

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)