Phase 3 reopening

During phase 3 of Nova Scotia’s reopening plan, we can continue to expand social activities and gatherings and start to remove restrictions from travel. Plan phases are based on ongoing progress of vaccination rates and improvements of public health and healthcare indicators.

Last updated: 14 July 2021

Reopening safely

During phase 3 we can continue to expand social activities and gatherings and remove restrictions from travel. Phase 3 will allow easier travel into Nova Scotia for Atlantic Canadians and continues to expand capacity for businesses and services. Testing also continues and is monitored throughout this phase.

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 3 moved to phase 4 14 July
  1. Phase 1 Moved to phase 2 16 June
  2. Phase 2 Moved to phase 3 30 June
  3. Phase 3 Moved to phase 414 July
  4. Phase 4 We are here
  5. Phase 5 September

New things you can do

Businesses and services

Personal and wellness services

  • Personal services businesses (like hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons and body art establishments) can operate fully (appointments and walk-in service), including all services and following their sector-specific plan and the Health Protection Act Order.

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 only serve food and alcohol until 12am and must close by 1am.
  • Liquor licensed (drinking) establishments (like bars, wineries, distillery tasting rooms, craft taprooms and liquor manufacturers) can offer indoor and outdoor dining with a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) between people at different tables. There is a maximum of 10 people (close social group of 10) 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. Liquor licensed (drinking) establishments can only serve dine-in customers until 12am and must close by 1am. They can continue to offer take-out, delivery and drive-thru service after 1am.
  • Live music is permitted (indoor and outdoor) at restaurants and liquor licensed (drinking) establishments (like bars, wineries, distillery tasting rooms, craft taprooms and liquor manufacturers) with musicians following the Guidelines for Musicians (PDF). There can be up to 15 performers indoors and up to 25 outdoors. Wearing a mask is required when performing (except when you're singing or playing a wind instrument).
  • Restaurants can offer indoor and outdoor dining with a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) between people at different tables. There is a maximum of 10 people (close social group of 10) 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. Restaurants can only serve dine-in customers until 12am and must close by 1am. They can continue to offer take-out, delivery and drive-thru service after 1am.
  • 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 only serve food and alcohol until 12am and must close by 1am.

Retail and shopping

  • All retail stores can operate at 75% of the store’s capacity (shoppers and staff) and need to follow the Health Protection Act Order, including public health measures like social distancing and masks.

Continuing care

Long-term care facilities

  • Indoor visits can resume in designated visitation areas at long-term care facilities for fully vaccinated residents.
  • Social distancing is not required for outdoor visits at long-term care facilities (including residents who are partially vaccinated or not vaccinated).
  • Long-term care residents can leave the facility to visit outdoor public places (like parks). Fully vaccinated residents can also visit other public places (like stores and restaurants).

Gatherings and social contacts

Festivals, special events and arts and culture events

  • Festivals, special events and arts and culture events (like performances) - 50% of the venue’s capacity up to 100 people indoors and up to 150 people outdoors with social distancing and mask requirements when hosted by a business or organization. Organizers must have a COVID-19 Prevention Plan (plans will be reviewed by Government of Nova Scotia for large venues).

Indoor and outdoor social gatherings

  • Informal social gathering limit indoors is no more than your household (the people you live with) plus 10 people without social distancing and masks.
  • Informal social gathering limit outdoors remains up to 25 people without social distancing and masks.

Meetings and training

  • Meetings and training (indoor and outdoor) - 50% of the venue's capacity up to 100 people indoors and up to 150 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

  • Participants and officials in organized performing arts (amateur and professional) can gather with up to 15 people indoors and up to 25 people outdoors without social distancing for rehearsals and performances. Masks are recommended when you can’t maintain a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others. Spectators are permitted (indoor and outdoor) for performing arts hosted by a business or organization that have an Event Plan. Spectators have a limit of 50% of the facility's capacity up to 100 spectators indoors and 150 spectators outdoors and need to follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Participants and officials in organized sports (recreational, amateur and professional) can gather with up to 25 people indoors and up to 50 people outdoors without social distancing for 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 not permitted. Spectators are permitted (indoor and outdoor) for performing arts hosted by a business or organization that have an Event Plan. Spectators have a limit of 50% of the facility's capacity up to 100 spectators indoors and 150 spectators outdoors and need to follow social distancing guidelines.

Weddings, funerals and faith gatherings

  • Faith gatherings that are run by a business or organization - 50% of the venue's capacity up to 100 people indoors and up to 150 people outdoors with social distancing and masks.
  • Informal wedding ceremonies and funerals (including receptions and visitation) can have no more than your household (the people you live with) plus 10 people and the person conducting the ceremony indoors and up to 25 people plus the person conducting the ceremony outdoors without social distancing.
  • Wedding ceremonies and funerals (including receptions and visitation) - 50% of the venue’s capacity up to 100 people indoors and 150 people outdoors with social distancing when hosted by a business or organization.

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 50% capacity and need to maintain a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) between participants during activities. Wearing a mask is required (except during an activity that makes it difficult to wear a mask).
  • Day camps (indoor and outdoor) can operate with up to 20 people (excluding staff and volunteers) in each individual camp group without social distancing or multiple groups of 20 people each with social distancing between groups and need to follow COVID-19 Return to Day Camp Guidelines (PDF).
  • 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 75% capacity and need to follow the Health Protection Act Order and their sector-specific plan.
  • Golf courses can operate at maximum capacity possible while maintaining a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) between each group on the golf course.
  • 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).

Museums and libraries

  • Museums, libraries and Art Gallery of Nova Scotia can operate at 50% capacity and need to follow the Health Protection Act Order, including public health measures like social distancing and masks.

Travel

Travel to Nova Scotia

  • Starting 30 June 2021, if you're travelling from outside Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador (but within Canada) you can enter Nova Scotia. You need to complete the Safe Check-in Form and may need to self-isolate when you arrive in or return to the province. Self-isolation requirements are based on vaccination status and testing. Self-isolation requirements include:
    • people who are fully vaccinated (2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine) at least 14 days before arriving in Nova Scotia don't need to self-isolate; testing is recommended
    • people who are partially vaccinated (first dose of COVID-19 vaccine) at least 14 days before arriving in Nova Scotia must self-isolate for 7 days and receive 2 negative tests results in order to leave self-isolation after 7 days
    • people who are not vaccinated (0 doses of COVID-19 vaccine) at least 14 days before arriving in Nova Scotia must self-isolate for 14 days; testing is recommended at the start and end of your self-isolation
  • Starting 30 June 2021, if you travelled from outside Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador (but within Canada) before 30 June 2021 and are self-isolating in Nova Scotia, you can follow the self-isolation requirements based on vaccination status and testing.
  • Starting 30 June 2021, rotational workers, specialized workers, fish harvesters and people travelling for child custody reasons from outside Atlantic Canada will have modified forms of isolation based on vaccination status and testing.
  • Starting 5 July 2021, international travellers who are permitted to enter Canada can enter Nova Scotia. Travellers entering Canada must follow Government of Canada rules set out by the emergency orders under the Quarantine Act, including testing and quarantine requirements. You need to complete the Safe Check-in Form before your travel to Nova Scotia and may need to self-isolate when you arrive in or return to the province based on your vaccination status. If you travelled from outside Canada before 5 July 2021 and are self-isolating, you need to quarantine for 14 days in Canada, even with negative test results and if you’re fully or partially vaccinated.

Travel within Atlantic Canada

  • Starting 30 June 2021, if you’re travelling from New Brunswick, you don’t need to complete the Safe Check-in Form or self-isolate when you arrive in or return to Nova Scotia if you haven’t travelled outside Atlantic Canada in the 14 days before arriving in the province. If you’ve already self-isolated in New Brunswick, you can enter Nova Scotia without self-isolating again. If you travelled from New Brunswick before 30 June 2021 and are self-isolating in Nova Scotia, you can stop self-isolating. Self-isolation requirements may change based on the border strategy and epidemiology of each province.

Workplaces

Indoor workplaces

  • Workplaces (like offices) can start to follow a phased approach to have employees return to the workplace and need to follow OHS Hazard Management. Wearing a mask is required at private indoor workplaces in all common areas, places where there’s interaction with the public, areas with poor ventilation and areas where people can’t maintain a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others.

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.