On May 1, 2020, the Nova Scotia government announced the immediate easing of some public health measures and that the following businesses, services, and areas may now reopen: provincial and municipal parks (but use of playground equipment is still prohibited), trails, community gardens, garden centres, nurseries and similar businesses, sport fishing, boating, yacht or sailing clubs (for the purpose of preparing boats for use), golf driving ranges, golf clubs (to perform necessary maintenance and preparations for opening), personal cottages, provincial and private campgrounds (to perform necessary maintenance and preparations for opening) and drive-in religious services.
On May 8, 2020, the government confirmed that schools will not reopen for the remaining school year.
On May 9, 2020, the Nova Scotia government announced that its reopening plan is under development. Reopening will be done in phases, with each phase expected to last a minimum of 28 days.
On May 15, 2020, the Nova Scotia government introduced the “immediate family bubble”, permitting two households to merge and spend time together without social distancing.
The government also announced the following:
- effective May 15, 2020, beaches are open for walks, paddling and surfing; and
- effective Saturday, May 16, 2020, outdoor activities, such as golfing, can resume.
On May 16-17, 2020, the Nova Scotia government published its previously-announced order lifting certain outdoor activity restrictions.
On May 20, 2020, the Nova Scotia government announced that currently-paused healthcare services will begin to gradually restart, commencing with clinic-based day and short-stay surgeries on May 25, 2020.
On May 26, 2020, the Nova Scotia government launched a website with instructions and guidance on, among other things, requirements for reopening including the reopening plans required from certain industry associations.
On May 27, 2020, the province of Nova Scotia announced that most sectors of the economy may begin to reopen. Provincial grant funding was also announced to help businesses open safely, as well as new infrastructure spending.
The government announced that the following businesses may reopen as of June 5, 2020, subject to meeting required reopening protocols:
- restaurants for dine-in, takeout and delivery;
- bars, wineries, distilleries and taprooms (lounges are not permitted to open);
- personal services, such as hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons and body art establishments;
- fitness facilities, such as gyms, yoga studios and climbing facilities;
- dentistry and other self-regulated health professions such as optometry, chiropractic and physiotherapy; and
- unregulated health professions such as massage therapy, podiatry and naturopathy.
Further, the government announced a new $25-million Small Business Reopening and Support Grant program for certain businesses, non-profits, charities and social enterprises. The program is expected to begin June 1, 2020.
On May 29, 2020, the Nova Scotia government announced the limit on gatherings– both indoor and outdoor– has been raised to 10 people. Outdoor weddings and funerals are permitted to have 15 people. Physical distancing of 2-metres or 6-feet is still required, except among members of the same household or family household bubble.
The government further announced that private campgrounds can open at 50% capacity effective June 5, 2020. Reservations for campgrounds at provincial parks will open June 8, 2020, with grounds opening June 15, 2020. Provincial campgrounds must operate at a reduced capacity to ensure a minimum of 20 feet between individual campsites.
On June 2, 2020, the Nova Scotia government announced that licensed childcare centres and family daycare homes will reopen June 15, 2020. Childcare centres will operate at 50 percent capacity, with the ability to increase to 100 percent capacity if they meet public health COVID-19 guidelines for childcare settings. Family daycare homes will open at full capacity. Families will not be required to pay fees if they cannot access their childcare space or are not ready to make use of childcare services.
On June 10, 2020, the Nova Scotia government announced that certain visitor restrictions will be eased in long-term care facilities and homes for persons with disabilities, effective June 15, 2020.
On June 11, 2020, the Nova Scotia government announced incubator funding agreements to help start-up companies emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
On June 12, 2020, the Nova Scotia government released the COVID-19 Return to Day Camp Guidelines (PDF). Based on these guidelines, all day camp operators must have a plan in place to address, among other things:
- increased cleaning;
- staggered pick up and drop off times;
- screening staff and campers;
- limiting group sizes to 10, keeping the same groups of children together; and
- increased hand washing and minimizing sharing of equipment.
On June 15, 2020, the Nova Scotia government also issued an Order lifting restrictions on provincial and municipal parks and beaches. Parks and beaches are open to the public, subject to physical distancing requirements.
On June 18, 2020, the Nova Scotia government announced that:
- individuals can now gather in groups of up to 10 people without physical distancing. It is strongly encouraged to maintain a consistent group of people;
- gatherings of up to 50 people will now be allowed, if people observe physical distancing of 2-metres or 6-feet;
- businesses that are too small to ensure physical distancing can have no more than 10 people on their premises at a time; and
- playgrounds can reopen.
On June 24, 2020, the Atlantic provinces announced they will form a form travel bubble. Interprovincial travel without the requirement to self-isolate will be permitted in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, for residents of Atlantic Canada as of July 3. Visitors from other Canadian provinces and territories must adhere to the local entry requirements in place in each of the four jurisdictions. Other Canadian visitors to the Maritime provinces that have self-isolated for 14 days may then travel within the Maritime region. The premiers noted that the decision to ease travel restrictions in the region was guided by the chief medical officers of health in each province and will continue to be closely monitored. All public health directives present in each province must be adhered to, including not traveling if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 and practising physical distancing and good hand hygiene. Each province will choose their own processes to track and monitor travelers.
On June 25, 2020, the Nova Scotia government announced that some provincial museums will open July 1, 2020, subject to health and safety restrictions. A list of the museums eligible to open can be found here.
On June 26, 2020, the Nova Scotia government announced the following:
- effective July 3, 2020, a recognized business or organization can host an outdoor event with 250 people and an indoor event at 50% capacity (to a maximum of 200 people), provided that physical distancing rules are in place. Gathering limit guidelines can be found here;
- restaurants and licensed liquor establishments can now operate at 100 percent capacity and serve patrons until midnight with appropriate distancing between tables; and
- private campgrounds can now operate at 100% capacity and public pools can reopen with physical distancing for lane swimming and aquafit classes.
On July 2, 2020, the Nova Scotia government announced it would extend the deadline for eligible businesses to apply for the Small Business Reopening and Support Grant to July 17, 2020. The program provides grants of up to $5,000 for eligible small businesses, non-profits, charities and social enterprises to resume operations, and vouchers of up to $1,500 that can be used for business advice and support.
Further, beginning July 3, 2020, travel within Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador is permitted without the requirement to self-isolate for Atlantic Canadian residents.
Atlantic Canadians arriving in Nova Scotia will need to provide government-issued identification (like a driver’s licence or health card) or a utility bill or bank statement that shows their permanent home address. A self-declaration form isn’t required to enter Nova Scotia. People from outside Atlantic Canada must continue self-isolate for 14 days when they arrive in Nova Scotia. If they have already self-isolated in another Atlantic Canadian province, they may enter Nova Scotia without self-isolating again.
On July 7, 2020, the Nova Scotia government announced that all non-Atlantic bubble travellers (i.e. travellers entering the province from outside Atlantic Canada) will be required to complete a tracking and self-declaration form, including contact details where they can be reached during the required 14-day isolation/self-quarantine period. The government has warned that it may contact non-bubble travellers during the 14-day period to ensure their compliance.