Nova Scotia

Here are the new COVID-19 restrictions facing Nova Scotians

With increasing COVID-19 case counts driven by an ongoing outbreak at St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia is implementing new restrictions.

Dr. Robert Strang says the rules will be re-evaluated in January

A sign instructs people to wear a face covering before entering a building. (CBC)

Nova Scotia has introduced new restrictions to combat a surge in COVID-19 cases driven largely by an outbreak at St. Francis Xavier University.

The new rules bring in limits on gatherings, restrictions on school activities, and physical distancing and masking requirements.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang said the rules will be re-evaluated in January.

Starting Tuesday, Dec. 14, the following rules apply to schools:

  • School sports are limited to team skills training only.
  • No assemblies or holiday concerts will be permitted.
  • Classes cannot mix, including for activities like Reading Buddies.
  • Only essential visitors are permitted in schools.
  • Masks are required inside when physical distancing is not possible, but are not required outdoors.
  • Access to cafeterias will be limited.
  • Fully vaccinated community members can use school gyms and theatres after hours if feasible.

Starting Friday, Dec. 17, the following restrictions will be in place:

  • Physical distancing of two metres is required indoors and outdoors, except among people in the same household or in a consistent social bubble of up to 20.
  • Fitness and recreation facilities, retail stores, malls, museums, libraries and personal services can operate at the maximum capacity possible with physical distancing.
  • Food and liquor-licensed establishments must have physical distancing between tables and a limit of 20 people per table. People must be seated to remove their mask for eating or drinking.
  • Masks are required in areas of workplaces where physical distancing is not possible, as well as common areas, areas where people are serving the public and places with poor ventilation.
  • Spectators at sports games or arts and culture performances must not eat or drink in the main seating area of the venue, but must go instead to a designated area for eating and drinking.

Gathering limits will apply as follows:

  • Indoor and outdoor informal gatherings are limited to 20 people from the same household or a consistent social group. Physical distancing is not required, and masks are not required except in indoor public spaces.
  • Gatherings hosted by recognized businesses or organizations, such as social gatherings, regular faith services, weddings, funerals, receptions and visitations, special events, meetings, training, festivals and audiences for sports events and arts and culture events (like performances and movie theatres) are limited to 50 per cent of capacity, with a maximum of 150 people indoors and 250 outdoors.
  • Sports practices, games and regular league play are limited to 60 participants indoors and outdoors. Tournaments are not allowed. Physical distancing is not required, and masks are recommended when possible, both indoors and outside.
  • Professional and amateur arts and cultural rehearsals and performances are limited to 60 participants indoors and outside. Competitions are not permitted. Physical distancing is not required, and masks are recommended when possible, both indoors and outside.
  • Children who are 11 or younger are not permitted to enter Nova Scotia to participate in sports, arts and culture events, and children in the province in that age group cannot participate in such events outside Nova Scotia.
  • Plans will be considered for specific large venues such as the Scotiabank Centre, the Halifax Convention Centre and the Halifax Exhibition Centre.

The following rules apply to long-term care homes and Disability Support Program homes:

  • There will be a limit of two visitors at a time with residents, and it does not have to be the same two people every time.
  • Visitors can have a quick close contact like a hug, but then need to stay physically distanced for the rest of the visit.
  • Visitors must be fully vaccinated and wear masks, except for end-of-life visits.
  • Except for medical appointments, residents can only leave the facility if they are fully vaccinated, and it is recommended they also have a booster dose.

Proof of vaccination is still required for discretionary activities for attendees and volunteers, including in places where gathering limits and physical distancing apply.