Nova Scotia entered the second phase of its COVID reopening plan on Wednesday, June 16, easing lots of the restrictions that were in place during Phase 1. In this new phase, Nova Scotia inches toward larger gathering limits and allowing more businesses to reopen.
To help clarify what Nova Scotians can do, The Coast has organized 16 of the main changes to the province's COVID rules in Phase 2. And looking forward to the next step of unlocking from lockdown, we're including how each will further change in Phase 3, which is scheduled start as soon as June 30.
Related Phase 2 reopening is a go Wednesday in Nova Scotia: June 16 marks a number of important changes in the province’s COVID reopening plan.
Related Timeline of Nova Scotia’s 2021 reopening plan: When phases start and lockdown rules change as we recover from COVID's third wave.
Up to 10 people—including household members—can now informally gather indoors without physically distancing and wearing masks. Outdoors, that number rises to 25 people.
In Phase 3, the informal gathering limit rises to 10 people plus the household members, but the outdoor gathering limit doesn’t change.
Restaurants and liquor licensed businesses can offer indoor and outdoor dining with a maximum of 10 people per group. However, tables between different groups must be six feet apart and people must wear masks when they’re not eating or drinking. These businesses can only serve dine-in customers until 11pm and must close dining rooms by 12am. But take-out, delivery and drive-thru orders can still be offered after midnight.
Those restrictions remain in Phase 3, but operation hours are pushed by one hour. Dine-in customers can be served until 12am and dining rooms must close by 1am. Still, take-out, delivery and drive-thru orders can be offered after that time.
Related EDNA Restaurant is open after a long COVID closure: The Halifax dining hotspot is back in Phase 2 with new owners, and they take reservations.
3Salons, spas, barber shops and body art
Personal services businesses can now offer all services by appointment, including anything that requires a customer to remove their masks. Those businesses include hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas and body art studios.
In Phase 3, these businesses can operate normally and offer drop-in services.
Related Nose piercing and beard trimming are legal services again: Spas, salons, barbers and tattoo artists can go under the mask in Phase 2 of reopening.
Retail stores can run at 50 percent capacity (that includes employees) as long as the Health Protection Act Order is followed. Moreover, households can have more than one designated shopper.
That capacity rises to 75 percent in Phase 3 while public health measures are still required.
Casino Nova Scotia and video lottery terminals can also run at 50 percent capacity while abiding by public health measures. Food and alcohol can only be served until 11pm and locations must close by 12am.
That capacity also rises to 75 percent in Phase 3 and operation hours are pushed by one hour. That means food and alcohol can be served until 12am while operations must close by 1am.
Meetings and training sessions hosted by a business or organization can continue both indoors and outdoors with physical distancing. Indoors, the gathering limit is 25 percent of a venue’s capacity and only a maximum of 50 people; that number rises to 75 with outdoor meetings and training sessions.
These numbers double in Phase 3. Indoors, it’s 50 percent of a venue’s capacity with a maximum of 100 people; that number is 150 people while outdoors.
7Festivals and events
Businesses and organizations can also offer festivals, special events and arts and culture events with the same guidelines as meetings, so long as there’s physical distancing and a COVID-19 prevention plan.
Like meetings and training sessions, these numbers also double in Phase 3, and a COVID prevention plan is still necessary.
8Arts and culture
For the performing arts, amateur rehearsals and performances can have up to 10 people indoors or up to 25 people outdoors without physical distancing. Professional rehearsals and performances can also have up to 25 people outdoors, but are allowed to have up to 15 people indoors without physical distancing. Masks are recommended but only required during indoor professional rehearsals and performances where physical distancing is impossible or during activities where a mask can’t be worn.
In Phase 3, all performing arts rehearsals and performances can have 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors without physical distancing. Masks are no longer required but recommend outdoors when physical distancing is impossible.
Related 6 event picks, including Lafawndah at EVERYSEEKER Festival: The online festival of off-the-wall creativity leads the pack of can’t miss culture.
In amateur and professional sports, players and officials can practice with up to 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors without physical distancing. Games, competitions and tournaments are not permitted.
Organized sports can also gather with more people in Phase 3. Twenty-five people can gather indoors and 50 people can gather outdoors without physical distancing. Games and competitions can return but tournaments still are not allowed.
10Watching arts and sports
Spectators are allowed at performing arts rehearsals, performances and sports practices hosted by a business or organization with an event plan. In these cases, spectators count under event gathering limits. That includes 25 percent of a venue’s capacity with up to 50 people indoors, or up to 75 people outdoors with physical distancing.
In Phase 3, spectators continue to fall under event gathering limits. That means an indoor facility can hold 50 percent capacity with a maximum of 100 people or 150 people outdoors.
Faith gatherings hosted by businesses or organizations can continue at 25 percent of a venue’s capacity with up to 50 people indoors or 75 people outdoors with physical distancing. On top of that, drive-in faith services aren’t limited to a number of vehicles.
In Phase 3, faith gatherings hosted by businesses or organizations can double in gathering limit. Indoors, 50 percent of a venue’s capacity can be filled with up to 100 people and up to 150 people outdoors with physical distancing.
Volunteers can return to long-term care facilities and residents don’t need to be in specific groups during activities or when dining. Residents who aren’t fully vaccinated can now receive personal services and partake in recreational activities. All residents can also go for walks off facility property and go through a drive-thru while on a drive with a caregiver; only vaccinated residents can leave their facility to visit outdoor public places in Phase 2.
In Phase 3, residents who aren’t vaccinated can also leave their facility to visit outdoor public places. People can also visit facilities indoors as long as residents are vaccinated. Moreover, physical distancing is no longer required for outdoor visits for any resident.
Gyms, yoga studios, pools, arenas, tennis courts and other fitness and sports facilities can reopen at 50 percent capacity.
That capacity jumps to 75 percent when Nova Scotia reaches Phase 3.
Related Gyms in Halifax can let their clients in for Phase 2: Nova Scotia allows gyms/yoga studios/fitness facilities to reopen for the first time since April.
Businesses and organizations offering recreational activities such as climbing, dance classes, music lessons, escape rooms, arcades and indoor playrooms can open at 25 percent capacity. Establishments can also offer activities such as bingo, cards, darts and pool while following the province’s guidelines.
Phase 3 of Nova Scotia’s reopening plan will see this capacity double to 50 percent.
15Museums and libraries
Museums and libraries can open with 25 percent capacity while following public health measures.
In Phase 3, museums and libraries can run at 50 percent capacity while continuing public health measures.
Within the province, Nova Scotians can travel outside their communities. Anyone outside of Nova Scotia can request a compassionate exception to attend a funeral or service for an immediate family member. Canadians permanently moving to Nova Scotia or back to a seasonal property can now enter the province as long as they self-isolate.
Phase 3 was supposed to bring the return of the Atlantic bubble, but Nova Scotia decided to jump the gun. In a press release announcing the official start of Phase 2, the province also said the bubble will open before Phase 3 starts. The plan is that on June 23, all Atlantic Canadians are permitted to travel to and from Nova Scotia without self-isolating, as can Canadians from other provinces and territories who already self-isolated in another Atlantic Canadian province.