The new COVID restrictions: What’s considered essential in Nova Scotia | The Coast Halifax

The new COVID restrictions: What’s considered essential in Nova Scotia

Are lockdown chips a thing yet?

Strang’s still working with his team to determine what “essential” encompasses. COMMUNICATIONS NOVA SCOTIA
Strang’s still working with his team to determine what “essential” encompasses. COMMUNICATIONS NOVA SCOTIA

On Tuesday, with 96 new cases bringing the province to a total of 419 active COVID-19 infections, Nova Scotia locked down. Not only does the rest of the province join Halifax, which went into lockdown Friday, but the restrictions are getting tighter.

"We are in a race between the variant and the vaccine," said doctor Robert Strang at today’s C19 briefing with premier Iain Rankin. "There is substantive risk of community spread across the province. We need to slow that spread until we are closer to population immunity through our vaccination program."

The fortnight of restrictions that Strankin announced at the briefing is strict. It aims to get our cases under control.

“This is not the time for half measures," said Rankin. "We need strong, quick action to drive this virus out of our province. If we took an incremental approach, we'd likely end up in the same place. We need to regain control over this virus.”

While Strang says his team is still “working out the details,” the province gave a basic outline Tuesday of what will and won’t be permitted come 8am on Wednesday, April 28. These regulations will remain in effect until at least May 12.


  • Nova Scotians can only gather indoors or outdoors with their household bubble, which is the people they live with
  • Households of two or fewer people can socialize with one or two others, but they must be the same people for this two-week period
  • Daycares will remain open but masking is required for staff, visitors and children over the age of two. Essential workers who need help to access childcare supports can contact [email protected] or call 1-877-223-9555
  • Essential stores can remain open at 25 percent capacity and include those that provide:
    • food
    • pharmaceutical products, medicine and medical devices
    • personal hygiene products
    • cleaning products
    • baby and child products
    • gas and car repair
    • computer and cellphone service and repair
    • electronics and office supplies
    • hardware supplies
    • pet and animal supplies
  • Nova Scotia Liquor Commission stores can remain open at 25 percent capacity
  • Regulated and unregulated health professions can remain open with an approved COVID plan
  • Wedding and funeral ceremonies can have five people, plus officiants
  • Mental health and addictions support groups can have 10 people with physical distancing and masks
  • Virtual gatherings and performances can be held with a maximum of five people in one location
  • Outdoor recreation activities like hiking and walking, including individual sports (like golf and tennis), are allowed and encouraged. Masks are mandatory outdoors province-wide anywhere physical distancing cannot be maintained, including playgrounds and parks
  • Outdoor fitness and recreation businesses and organized clubs can operate with a maximum of five people and physical distancing


  • No unnecessary travel between communities; a community is defined as the municipality where you live, but people should stay as close to home as possible when accessing essential or necessary services or products
  • All public and private schools are closed
  • Retail stores are closed for in-person service unless those stores provide services essential to the life, health or personal safety of individuals and animals (as listed above)
  • Restaurants and licensed establishments are closed for dine-in service, but contactless take-out or delivery is allowed
  • Personal services such as hair salons, barber shops and spas are closed
  • No non-essential meetings or training
  • In private indoor workplaces such as offices or warehouses, masks are mandatory province-wide in all common areas, places where there is interaction with the public, areas with poor ventilation and areas where distance cannot be maintained.
  • All fitness, recreational and sports facilities are closed
  • Licensed and unlicensed establishments cannot host activities such as darts, cards, pool and bowling
  • Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax and Sydney and First Nations gaming establishments and VLTs must close
  • No social events, special events, festivals, arts/cultural events, sports events, faith gatherings, wedding receptions, or funeral visitation or receptions
  • Indoor fitness facilities like gyms and yoga studios, and sport and recreation facilities like pools, arenas, tennis courts and large multipurpose recreation facilities are closed
  • Businesses and organizations offering a wide variety of indoor recreation activities are closed, such as indoor play areas, arcades, climbing facilities, dance classes and music lessons
  • Museums, libraries and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia are closed, but libraries can offer pick-up and drop-off of books and other materials
  • No visitors or volunteers allowed inside long-term care facilities except for designated care providers and no visits to the community
  • All adult day programs for seniors closed
  • All homes licensed by the department of community services under the Homes for Special Care Act cannot have visitors and residents cannot have community access
  • All adult day programs for persons with disabilities funded by DCS will be closed except for scheduled vaccine clinics