1. Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  2. Reopening plan
  3. Reopening plan: phase 2

Reopening plan: phase 2

Nova Scotia is gradually easing restrictions. The reopening plan takes a phased approach based on ongoing epidemiology and hospitalizations.

Last updated: 4 March 2022

Reopening safely

During phase 2, gathering limits are further increased. Businesses and services continue to ease restrictions.

The 3-phase reopening plan outlines how restrictions will ease while protecting the healthcare system and vulnerable populations throughout the province. Each phase is based on ongoing epidemiology, hospitalizations, employee absences and COVID-19 activity in long-term care facilities. 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 2 moved to phase 3 on
  1. Home
  2. Phase 1 Moved to phase 2 7 March
  3. Phase 2 Moved to phase 3 21 March
  4. Phase 3 We are here
  5. By sector

Guidance and restrictions

Businesses and services

Personal and wellness services

  • Personal services businesses (like hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons and body art establishments) can operate at 100% capacity while maintaining a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) as much as possible and mask requirements. They also need to follow their sector-specific plan and the Health Protection Act Order. Services that require a client to remove their mask are permitted.

Restaurants, bars and casinos

  • Casino Nova Scotia (Halifax and Sydney) can operate at 75% capacity while maintaining a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) as much as possible between patrons. Wearing a mask is required (except when you're seated while eating or drinking). Casino Nova Scotia can return to regular hours of operation (indoor and outdoor) as per their licensing.

    First Nations gaming establishments can operate at 75% capacity while maintaining a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) as much as possible between patrons. Wearing a mask is required (except when you're seated while eating or drinking). Establishments that hold a liquor licence can return to regular hours of operation (indoor and outdoor) as per their licensing.

    Restaurants and liquor licensed (drinking) establishments (like bars, wineries, distillery tasting rooms, craft taprooms and liquor manufacturers) can operate at 75% capacity while maintaining a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) as much as possible 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 seated while eating or drinking). Bar service is permitted if you follow social distancing and mask requirements. Restaurants and liquor licensed (drinking) establishments can return to regular hours of operation (indoor and outdoor) as per their licensing.

    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 performing arts gathering limit. Wearing a mask is required when performing (except when you're singing or playing a wind instrument). Musicians and performers need to maintain a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from patrons.

    Dancing is permitted at restaurants and liquor licensed (drinking) establishments (like bars, wineries, distillery tasting rooms, craft taprooms and liquor manufacturers). Wearing a mask is required when dancing. You need to follow the informal gathering limit for household members (the people you live with) and your close social contacts for dancing together with social distancing between groups.

    Video lottery terminals (VLTs) can operate with public health measures like social distancing and masks. They must maintain a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) between people at VLTs. Establishments that hold a liquor licence can return to regular hours of operation (indoor and outdoor) as per their licensing.

Retail and shopping

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

    Shopping malls need to follow the Health Protection Act Order, including:

    • customers wear a mask
    • maintaining a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) between patrons, including lineups outside the entrance of a retail business
    • keeping music to 50 decibels
    • food courts can operate at 75% capacity while maintaining a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) as much as possible between people at different tables and mask requirements

Childcare and education

Before and after school programs

  • Before and after school programs (indoor and outdoor) can operate with up to 30 people (excluding staff and volunteers) in each individual group without social distancing or multiple groups of 30 people each with social distancing between groups and need to follow Public Health guidance for school settings. Each group needs to be a consistent group. Wearing a mask is required indoors for staff, volunteers and participants.

Childcare facilities and daycare homes

  • Licensed childcare facilities and family daycare homes can continue to operate at 100% capacity.

    Wearing a mask is required for staff, students and visitors when they’re in indoor childcare settings.

Schools

  • Public schools and the Pre-primary Program continue to follow the Back to School Plan for 2021 to 2022.

    Wearing a mask is required for staff, students and visitors when they’re in indoor childcare settings.

Continuing care and healthcare

Adult residential centres and regional rehabilitation centres

  • Residents in homes licensed by the Department of Community Services under the Homes for Special Care Act can have up to 3 visitors at a time (it doesn’t need to be the same visitors each time). Larger groups of visitors are permitted for special occasions (like a resident’s birthday or anniversary). Check with the facility to make sure they can accommodate 3 visitors and larger groups of visitors.

    All residents in homes licensed by the Department of Community Services under the Homes for Special Care Act can leave the facility.

    Visitors at homes licensed by the Department of Community Services under the Homes for Special Care Act need to wear a mask and be fully vaccinated (except for end-of-life visits). Visitors need to follow social distancing guidelines (except for quick, close contact, like a hug).

Long-term care facilities

  • Long-term care residents can have up to 3 visitors at a time (it doesn’t need to be the same visitors each time). Larger groups of visitors are permitted for special occasions (like a resident’s birthday or anniversary). Check with the facility to make sure they can accommodate 3 visitors and larger groups of visitors.

    Long-term care residents can leave the facility to visit with family in their homes (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 mask requirements.

    Long-term care residents can attend regular faith services within the facility. The service can have 75% of the room’s capacity while maintaining a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) as much as possible and mask requirements. Live music is permitted with musicians following the performing arts gathering limit. Wearing a mask is required when performing (except when you're singing or playing a wind instrument). Musicians and performers need to maintain a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from the congregation. Masks are recommended for choirs.

    All long-term care residents can participate in recreational activities and personal services (like hairstyling) within the facility.

    Visitors at long-term care facilities need to wear a mask and be fully vaccinated (except for end-of-life visits). Visitors need to follow social distancing guidelines (except for quick, close contact, like a hug).

Gatherings and social contacts

Arts and culture events, festivals and special events

  • Festivals, special events and arts and culture events (like performances and movie theatres) - 75% of the venue’s capacity (indoor and outdoor) while maintaining a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) as much as possible between groups of spectators when hosted by a business or organization. Wearing a mask is required (except when you’re eating or drinking). You don’t need to go to a designated area for eating and drinking (you can lower your mask to eat or drink when seated). Organizers also need to have a COVID-19 Prevention Plan.

Informal social gatherings

  • Informal gatherings with household members (the people you live with) and close social contacts - up to 25 people indoors and up to 50 people and outdoors without social distancing and masks (a common room of an apartment building or condo is considered an extension of your home if you have an informal gathering in it). Masks may be required if you’re in a public place with mask requirements.

Large event venues

  • Large event venues with 100,000 square feet or more (like Scotiabank Centre and Centre 200, Halifax Exhibition Centre) - 75% of the venue’s capacity up to 5,000 people (indoor and outdoor) while maintaining a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) as much as possible between groups of spectators. Wearing a mask is required (except when you’re eating or drinking). You don’t need to go to a designated area for eating and drinking (you can lower your mask to eat or drink when seated). Organizers also need to have a COVID-19 Prevention Plan.

Meetings and training

  • Meetings and training (indoor and outdoor) hosted by a business or organization - 75% of the venue’s capacity while maintaining a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) as much as possible between participants. Wearing a mask is required. Meetings and training hosted by a business or organization include:

    • faith organizations
    • 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

    Meetings and training (emergency first response) - When necessary, emergency first response training doesn’t need to follow the gathering limit.

Sports and performing arts

  • Performing arts - Participants and officials in organized performing arts (amateur and professional) can gather with up to 60 people (indoor and outdoor) 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 other performers. Singing or playing a wind instrument is permitted. Musicians and performers need to maintain a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from spectators. The performing arts gathering limit also applies to rehearsals and performances at public schools. Spectators are included in event gathering limits and need to follow social distancing guidelines and mask requirements.

    Sports - Participants and officials in organized sports (recreational, amateur and professional) can gather with up to 60 people (indoor and outdoor) without social distancing for practices, training, games, regular league competition and tournaments. Masks are recommended when you can’t maintain a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from others. The sports gathering limit also applies to practices, training, games, regular league competition and tournaments at public schools. Spectators are included in event gathering limits and need to follow social distancing guidelines and mask requirements.

Weddings, funerals and faith gatherings

  • Drive-in faith services have no limit on the number of vehicles. You need to follow the informal indoor gathering limit in your vehicle.

    Regular faith services - 75% of the venue’s capacity (indoor and outdoor) while maintaining a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) as much as possible and mask requirements. Congregational singing is permitted with masks. Live music is permitted with musicians following the performing arts gathering limit. Wearing a mask is required when performing (except when you're singing or playing a wind instrument). Musicians and performers need to maintain a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from the congregation. Masks are recommended for choirs.

    Informal faith gatherings can have up 25 people (household members and close social contacts) indoors and up to 50 people (household members and close social contacts ) outdoors plus 1 person conducting the service without social distancing. Masks may be required if you’re in a public place with mask requirements.

    Weddings and funerals (including visitation and receptions) hosted by a business or organization - 75% of the venue’s capacity (indoor and outdoor) while maintaining a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) as much as possible and mask requirements. Congregational singing is permitted with masks. Live music is permitted with musicians following the performing arts gathering limit. Wearing a mask is required when performing (except when you're singing or playing a wind instrument). Musicians and performers need to maintain a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from event participants. Masks are recommended for choirs.

    Informal wedding ceremonies can have up to 25 people (household members and close social contacts) indoors and up to 50 people (household members and close social contacts) outdoors plus 1 person conducting the ceremony without social distancing. Masks may be required if you’re in a public place with mask requirements.

Masks, social distancing, testing and self-isolation

Masks

  • Mask requirements for indoor public places and public transportation remain in place.

Social distancing

Testing and self-isolation

Recreation activities

Bingo, cards, darts, pool and bowling

  • Activities like cards, darts, pool, bowling and karaoke hosted by licensed and unlicensed establishments (like community centres, clubs and charities) continue to follow the Health Protection Act Order and the rules for the establishment that’s hosting the activity. Bingo follows the rules for liquor licensed (drinking) establishments. Wearing a mask is required (except when you're eating or drinking).

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 75% of the venue’s capacity (indoor and outdoor) while maintaining a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) as much as possible and mask requirements. Wearing a mask is required (except during an activity that makes it difficult to wear a mask). Personal training and 1 to 1 lessons are permitted while maintaining physical distancing as much as possible between the instructor and participant.

    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% of the venue’s capacity (indoor and outdoor) while maintaining a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) as much as possible and mask requirements. Personal training and 1 to 1 lessons are permitted while maintaining physical distancing as much as possible between the instructor and participant.

    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. Each group needs to be a consistent group. Wearing a mask is required for staff, volunteers and campers.

Movie theatres

  • Movie theatres can operate at 75% of the theatre’s capacity while maintaining a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) as much as possible. Wearing a mask is required (except when you’re eating or drinking). You don’t need to go to a designated area for eating and drinking (you can lower your mask to eat or drink when seated).

Museums and libraries

  • Museums, libraries and Art Gallery of Nova Scotia can operate at maximum capacity possible (visitors and staff) with social distancing and masks.

Tour operators

Travel

Travel to Nova Scotia

  • Border restrictions are lifted for domestic travellers. If you travel from another Canadian province or territory, you can enter Nova Scotia and don’t need to complete the Safe Check-in Form or self-isolate when you arrive in or return to 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.

Vaccination

Proof of full vaccination

  • Proof of full vaccination isn’t required to participate in discretionary, non-essential events and activities that gather people together (like going to restaurants, movies, sports events, theatre performances, social events and the gym).

Workplaces

Indoor workplaces

Public health measures

Continue to follow public health measures and stay up to date on restrictions and guidance to help keep everyone safe.