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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.

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Nova Scotia is rolling into Phase 2 of its reopening plan on Wednesday, June 16 at 8am. The phase means larger gathering numbers, allowing sports and arts rehearsals and the return of indoor dining.

June 16 is the earliest possible date to move into Phase 2 according to the range of times in the reopening plan, and for days the province has been signalling that it would hit that date. Last Friday, premier Iain Rankin said that “as long as the weekend goes well,“ we would be on track to move to Phase 2 on time.

The weekend, for all intents and purposes, did go pretty well. On Saturday there were 10 new cases and Sunday had eight new cases. While a new death and eight more cases were announced Monday morning, the province had just 124 active COVID cases at the start of the week.

After moving into Phase 1 on June 2, the target for Phase 2 was getting 60 percent of Nova Scotians one dose of vaccine, on top of decreasing new cases and hospitalizations. The province actually reached the vaccination mark last Sunday, June 6, but the premier said having at least two weeks between reopening phases is a minimum due to the vaccine’s incubation period.

“The vaccination target is just one of our indicators as we move through the phases,” said Rankin, adding, “we were all in agreement that we needed that two weeks before we get to Phase 2.”

On Tuesday morning, Rankin confirmed on social media that Phase 2 was indeed coming Wednesday.

Phase 2 is also expected to last at least two weeks, until Phase 3 begins as early as June 30.

For the full reopening plan, visit novascotia.ca/reopening-plan.

The changes starting June 16 include:
  • Personal services businesses like hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons and body art establishments can offer services that require a client to remove their mask. By appointment only, following their sector-specific plan.
  • Restaurants, bars, wineries and taprooms can offer indoor and outdoor dining with six feet between tables, and a maximum of 10 people (one bubble) per table. You must wear a mask until seated, seated service must stop by 11pm, and only take-out and delivery can be offered after midnight.
  • Live music is permitted indoors and outdoors at restaurants and bars with one performer, following the guidelines for musicians.
  • All retail stores can operate at 50 percent of the store’s capacity (shoppers and staff), provided they follow mask and social distancing protocols.
  • Households can have more than 1 designated shopper.
  • Community-based adult day programs for seniors can resume, following their approved plan that meets public health guidelines.
  • Informal social gathering limit indoors is up to 10 people (household members and visitors) without social distancing and masks.
  • Informal social gathering limit outdoors is up to 25 people without social distancing.
  • Meetings and training can include 10 people maximum indoors and 25 people maximum outdoors when held by the government, private businesses or organizations, first responders (who are exempt from social distancing when necessary), mental health and addictions support groups, or organized clubs
  • Amateur performing arts rehearsals can include 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors without social distancing. Professional artists, musicians, dancers and actors can rehearse indoors with up to 15 people and outdoors with up to 25 people without social distancing. When social distancing isn’t possible, masks are required for professionals and recommended for amateurs.
  • Sports (amateur and professional) can practice and train with up to 10 people indoors and up to 25 people outdoors without social distancing. Masks are recommended when you can’t maintain social distancing. Games, competitions, tournaments, in-person performances and spectators are not permitted.
  • Virtual events are permitted with a maximum of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, following industry guidelines for your sector.
  • Faith gatherings can have up to 10 people indoors and up to 25 people outdoors with social distancing. Drive-in faith services have no limit on the number of vehicles, but you can only be in a vehicle with your household (the people you live with).
  • Wedding ceremonies and funerals (including receptions and visitation) can have up to 10 people plus the officiant indoors, and up to 25 people plus the officiant outdoors.
    Weddings and faith gatherings hosted by a business or organization can have up to 25 percent of a venue's capacity indoors (up to 50 maximum indoors or 75 outdoors), with social distancing.
  • Casino NS and VLTs can operate at 50 percent capacity, while following other public health measures, and must stop serving by 11pm and close by 12am.
  • Activities like bingo, cards, darts and pool hosted by licensed establishments can resume if they follow the guidelines.
  • Indoor and outdoor day camps can operate with up to 15 people (including staff and volunteers) in each individual camp group without social distancing.
  • Fitness establishments (like gyms, yoga studios and climbing facilities) and sport and recreation facilities (like pools, arenas, tennis courts and large multipurpose recreation facilities) can operate at 50 percent capacity.
  • Museums and libraries can operate at 25% capacity and need to follow public health measures.
  • People from outside Nova Scotia can request a compassionate exception to enter Nova Scotia to attend a funeral or similar for an immediate family member.
  • Seasonal property owners and people moving to Nova Scotia permanently can apply to travel to Nova Scotia by completing the Safe Check-in Form and must self-isolate for 14 days when they arrive in Nova Scotia.
  • No restriction on travel within Nova Scotia.

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