Phase 4 reopening

During phase 4 of Nova Scotia’s reopening plan, we continue to expand access to social connections and capacity for businesses, services, events and activities. Plan phases are based on ongoing progress of vaccination rates and improvements of public health and healthcare indicators.

Last updated: 26 August 2021

Reopening safely

During phase 4 we can continue to have more social connections and access to expanded services, activities and events. Phase 4 will allow more travel into Nova Scotia with less restrictions and increased visitation with long-term care residents.

The 5-phase reopening plan outlines how restrictions will ease while protecting the healthcare system and increasing vaccination rates throughout the province. COVID-19 transmission will continue to be monitored. If required, a phase may be paused to respond to trends at county or provincial levels. Additional plan details will be released as each phase starts.

Phase 4 in effect
  1. Phase 1 Moved to phase 2 16 June
  2. Phase 2 Moved to phase 3 30 June
  3. Phase 3 Moved to phase 4 14 July
  4. Phase 4 We are here
  5. Phase 5 Expected date 4 October

New things you can do

Businesses and services

Restaurants, bars and casinos

  • Casino Nova Scotia (Halifax and Sydney) can operate at maximum capacity possible with public health measures like social distancing and masks. They can return to regular hours of operation (indoor and outdoor) as per their licensing.
  • Liquor licensed (drinking) establishments (like bars, wineries, distillery tasting rooms, craft taprooms and liquor manufacturers) can return to regular hours of operation (indoor and outdoor) as per their licensing with a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) between people at different tables. There is a maximum of 25 people (household members and close social contacts) per table. Wearing a mask is required (except when you're eating or drinking). Bar service is permitted if you follow social distancing and mask requirements. You need to wear a mask and follow the informal social gathering limit for household members (the people you live with) and close social contacts for dancing together at events, bars and restaurants. The indoor limit applies to dancing on patios at bars and restaurants. Liquor licensed (drinking) establishments can have live music (indoor and outdoor) with musicians following the COVID-19 Guidelines for Musicians (PDF).
  • Restaurants can return to regular hours of operation (indoor and outdoor) as per their licensing with a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) between people at different tables. There is a maximum of 25 people (household members and close social contacts) per table. Wearing a mask is required (except when you're eating or drinking). Bar service is permitted if you follow social distancing and mask requirements. You need to wear a mask and follow the informal social gathering limit for household members (the people you live with) and close social contacts for dancing together at events, bars and restaurants. The indoor limit applies to dancing on patios at bars and restaurants. Restaurants can have live music (indoor and outdoor) with musicians following the COVID-19 Guidelines for Musicians (PDF).
  • Video lottery terminals (VLTs) can operate at maximum capacity possible with public health measures (like social distancing and masks) and need to follow their sector-specific plan. Establishments that hold a liquor licence can return to regular hours of operation (indoor and outdoor) as per their licensing.

Retail and shopping

  • All retail stores can operate at maximum capacity possible (shoppers and staff) with public health measures like social distancing and masks.

Continuing care

Long-term care facilities

  • Indoor visits can resume in a resident’s room at long-term care facilities. Visitors can attend social activities with a resident if they can maintain a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from other residents and their visitors.
  • Residents at long-term care facilities can leave the facility to visit with family or designated caregivers in their homes anywhere in Atlantic Canada (including overnight stays for up to 7 days). Residents can leave the facility to visit with friends in their homes (overnight stays are not permitted). Residents travelling between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick may need to self-isolate when they arrive in Nova Scotia. Self-isolation requirements are based on vaccination status and testing. They also need to apply to travel to Nova Scotia by completing the Safe Check-in Form before they travel to the province.
  • Residents at long-term care facilities can leave the facility to visit another long-term care facility (overnight stays are not permitted). Residents can also leave the facility to visit indoor and outdoor public places (like parks, stores and restaurants). Residents and visitors need to follow public health measures like social distancing and masks.
  • Visitors (all types) are permitted at long-term care facilities, including friends, family, volunteers, polling station staff, election candidates and media personnel.

Gatherings and social contacts

Arts and culture events, festivals and special events

  • Festivals, special events and arts and culture events (like performances) - 50% of the venue’s capacity up to 150 people indoors and up to 250 people outdoors with social distancing and mask requirements when hosted by a business or organization. Organizers must have a COVID-19 Prevention Plan (plans are reviewed by Government of Nova Scotia for large venues).

Dancing at events, bars and restaurants

  • You need to follow the informal social gathering limit for household members (the people you live with) and close social contacts for dancing together at events, bars and restaurants with social distancing between groups. The indoor limit applies to dancing on patios at bars and restaurants. You also need to wear a mask when dancing.

Informal social gatherings

  • Informal social gatherings with household members (the people you live with) and close social contacts - up to 25 people indoors and up to 50 people outdoors without social distancing and masks. Masks may be required if you’re in a public place with mask requirements (like a restaurant or event).

Meetings and training

  • Meetings and training (indoor and outdoor) - 50% of the venue's capacity up to 150 people indoors and up to 250 people outdoors with social distancing and mask requirements when meetings and training are hosted by a 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

Sports and performing arts

  • Informal competition (like friends organizing a ball game) needs to follow gathering limits for sports. Spectators are included in event gathering limits and need to follow social distancing guidelines and mask requirements. Tournaments are not permitted.
  • Participants and officials in organized performing arts and sports (recreational, amateur and professional) can gather with up to 25 people indoors and up to 50 people outdoors without social distancing for rehearsals, performances, practices, games and league play. Masks are recommended when you can’t maintain a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others. Tournaments are permitted if they’re run by or affiliated with a provincial sport organization and follow their Return to Sport Plan.
  • Spectators are permitted (indoor and outdoor) for sports and performing arts hosted by a business or organization that has an Event Plan. Spectators are included in event gathering limits and need to follow social distancing guidelines and mask requirements.

Weddings, funerals and faith gatherings

  • Faith gatherings that are run by a business or organization - 50% of the venue's capacity up to 150 people indoors and up to 250 people outdoors with social distancing and masks.
  • Wedding ceremonies and funerals (including receptions and visitation) hosted by a business or organization - 50% of the venue’s capacity up to 150 people indoors and up to 250 people outdoors with social distancing and masks.
  • Wedding ceremonies and funerals (including receptions and visitation) that are not hosted by a business or organization need to follow the informal social gathering limit for household members (the people you live with) and close social contacts, plus the person conducting the ceremony.

Recreation activities

Fitness and recreation

  • Businesses and organizations offering a wide variety of indoor recreation and leisure activities (like climbing facilities, dance classes, escape rooms, indoor arcades, indoor play spaces and music lessons) can operate at maximum capacity possible with public health measures like social distancing. Wearing a mask is required (except during an activity that makes it difficult to wear a mask).
  • Fitness establishments (like gyms and yoga studios) and sport and recreation facilities (like pools, arenas, tennis courts and large multipurpose recreation facilities) can operate at maximum capacity possible with public health measures like social distancing and masks.
  • Overnight summer camps (indoor and outdoor) can operate with up to 15 people (excluding staff and volunteers) in each individual camp group without social distancing or multiple groups of 15 people each with social distancing between groups and need to follow COVID-19 Return to Overnight Camp Guidelines (PDF). Masks are not required for campers 12 and younger.
  • Recreational day camps (indoor and outdoor) can operate with up to 30 people (excluding staff and volunteers) in each individual camp group without social distancing or multiple groups of 30 people each with social distancing between groups and need to follow COVID-19 Return to Day Camp Guidelines (PDF). Masks are not required for campers 12 and younger.

Museums and libraries

  • Museums, libraries and Art Gallery of Nova Scotia can operate at maximum capacity possible with public health measures like social distancing and masks.

Workplaces

Indoor workplaces

Public health measures

Continue to follow all public health measures to keep everyone safe. Stay up to date on restrictions and guidance and restriction alerts by county.