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Sunrise over ocean and forest at Kejimkujik National Park

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates and Resources

Last updated: September 10, 2020

What You Need To Know

The Canadian government has temporarily closed the border for non-essential travel. Please check www.travel.gc.ca for the most up to date information.

Due to the uncertainty and quick moving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, please note that international travel bans published by the government may change as the situation requires.

The Province of Nova Scotia has declared a state of emergency.

  • Effective July 31, non-medical masks are mandatory in most indoor public places in Nova Scotia.
  • As of July 3, there is an “Atlantic Bubble,” which means residents of the four Atlantic provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador) will be permitted to travel within the Atlantic provinces without the requirement to self-isolate. Visitors from other Canadian provinces and territories must adhere to the local entry requirements in place in each of the four Atlantic provinces. 
    • If people show proof that their permanent home is in Atlantic Canada, they will not have to self-isolate for 14 days when entering Nova Scotia. Every adult will need to show either a drivers' licence, government identification card, health card, or a utility bill or bank statement with a valid Atlantic Canadian address to provincial officials at airports, ferries or the land border when they arrive in the province. A self-declaration form is not required for Atlantic Canadians to enter Nova Scotia. 
    • Atlantic Canadians also need to follow public health directives while they're in Nova Scotia.
  • People travelling from outside Atlantic Canada must 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.
    • Every adult (age 18 or older) arriving from outside Atlantic Canada needs to complete a Safe Check-in Form before they travel to the province. You can complete and submit the Safe Check-in Form online here: https://travel-declaration.novascotia.ca/
    • When you arrive in Nova Scotia you need show that you submitted the form by providing the confirmation email you receive after submitting the form online. You also need to provide government-issued identification (like a Drivers Licence or Health Card) or a utility bill or bank statement that shows your permanent home address. 
    • You can print and complete the Safe Check-in Form if you're unable to submit online
    • A paper copy of the Safe Check-in Form is also available at entry points to Nova Scotia for people who don't have access to the form online. 
    • People travelling from outside Atlantic Canada also need to follow public health directives while they're in Nova Scotia. 
  • People can gather in groups of up to 10 without physical distancing. People in a group are not required to be exclusive but they are strongly encouraged to maintain a consistent group. This is especially important for Nova Scotians who are more at risk of complications from COVID-19. This change replaces the concept of family household bubbles.
  • If a recognized business or organization is planning an event outdoors, 250 people can attend with physical distancing rules in place. For an indoor event, the limit is 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 200, again with physical distancing.
    • Gatherings not run by a recognized business or organization, for example a family event in the backyard, are still subject to the 50-person maximum limit with physical distancing.
  • Businesses that are too small to ensure physical distancing can have no more than 10 people on their premises at a time.

Tourism Nova Scotia will relay any change in travel restrictions as soon as the information becomes available. Please read below for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

It can be challenging to make decisions for your business with so much uncertainty around the situation with COVID-19. Tourism Nova Scotia is making every effort to ensure tourism operators have up-to-date information and access to resources that can help you with your business during this time. See our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Travel Restrictions

Travel from outside Canada (International):

The Government of Canada has temporarily restricted non-essential travel to the country to Canadians and permanent residents, with some exceptions.

All international passenger flight arrivals have been redirected to 1 of 4 airports:

  • Calgary International Airport
  • Vancouver International Airport
  • Toronto’s Pearson International Airport
  • Montréal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport

Please visit www.travel.gc.ca for more information. Be sure to check the site frequently, as conditions may change quickly.

Travel from within Canada but outside Atlantic Canada (Domestic):

People travelling from outside Atlantic Canada must 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.

Every adult (age 18 or older) arriving from outside Atlantic Canada needs to complete a Safe Check-in Form before they travel to the province. You can complete and submit the Safe Check-in Form online here: https://travel-declaration.novascotia.ca/

When you arrive in Nova Scotia you need show that you submitted the form by providing the confirmation email you receive after submitting the form online. You also need to provide government-issued identification (like a Drivers Licence or Health Card) or a utility bill or bank statement that shows your permanent home address. 

You can print and complete the Safe Check-in Form if you're unable to submit online. A paper copy of the Safe Check-in Form is also available at entry points to Nova Scotia for people who don't have access to the form online. 

People travelling from outside Atlantic Canada also need to follow public health directives while they're in Nova Scotia. 

There has been no date set for the removal of the 14-day self-isolation requirement. As the situation continues to evolve, all end-dates for restrictions are considered fluid and could be lifted or extended at any time.

Travel within the Atlantic Bubble (Regional):

Beginning July 3, there will be an “Atlantic Bubble”, which means residents of the four Atlantic Provinces, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, will be permitted to travel within the Atlantic Provinces without the self-isolation requirement. 

Atlantic Canadians also need to follow public health directives while they're in Nova Scotia.

Travel within Nova Scotia (Local):

As more businesses, organizations, services and public spaces reopen, Nova Scotians need to work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help keep everyone safe. Nova Scotians are asked to make careful and informed decisions about the travel they engage in to help prevent further spread of COVID-19. You should consider the following measures when travelling within the province:

  • follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines during all activities
  • consult with businesses in advance regarding their health and safety protocols
  • observe physical distancing of two metres or six feet between people
  • keep your hands clean (if you have hand sanitizer, bring it with you)
  • follow cough and sneeze etiquette
  • wear a non-medical mask when visiting indoor public places and when physical distancing is not possible
  • stay home if you’re feeling sick
Non-Medical Face Masks/Coverings

Effective July 31, 2020, non-medical masks will be mandatory in the following indoor public places in Nova Scotia:

  • retail businesses
  • shopping centres
  • personal services businesses such as a hair and nail salons, spas, body art facilities, except during services that require removing a mask
  • restaurants and bars, except while you are eating or drinking
  • places of worship or faith gatherings
  • places for cultural or entertainment services or activities such as movie theatres, concerts, and other performances
  • places for sports and recreational activities such as a gym, pool, or indoor tennis facility, except during an activity where a mask cannot be worn
  • places for events such as conferences and receptions
  • municipal or provincial government locations offering services to the public
  • common areas of tourist accommodations such as lobbies, elevators and hallways
  • common areas of office buildings such as lobbies, elevators and hallways, but not private offices
  • public areas of a university or college campus such as library, student union building or common areas of a faculty building, but not classrooms, labs, offices or residences
  • train or bus stations, ferry terminals, and airports

Businesses, workplaces, and other owners with public places can develop their own policies and procedures. They can choose to refuse entry or service to people who are not following the rules.

Effective April 20, 2020, all air passengers are required to have a non-medical mask or face covering to cover their mouth and nose during travel to and from Canadian airports.

Passengers travelling by rail, motor carrier/bus or marine transportation are also strongly encouraged to wear non-medical masks or face coverings as much as possible.  See the measures from Transport Canada

Cruise lines, Ferries, and Commercial Passenger Vessels

The Government of Canada has deferred the start of the cruise ship season in Canada to October 31, 2020 at the earliest. See the news release from Transport Canada.

All commercial passenger vessels with a capacity of more than 12 passengers are prohibited from operating for non-essential purposes, such as tourism or recreational activities (e.g. day tours, whale watching, or sightseeing). These measures remain in place until June 30, 2020 at the earliest. See the backgrounder from Transport Canada.

Reopening the Economy

Most businesses ordered to close due to COVID-19 are permitted to re-open, provided they follow sector-specific health protocols. Eligible businesses include:

  • Restaurants for dine-in, as well as takeout and delivery
  • Bars, wineries, distilleries and taprooms
  • 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
  • Private campgrounds

All business and customers must continue to follow the public health measures around physical distancing and gathering limits. A full list of COVID-19 restriction updates can be found here: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/restriction-updates/

To support businesses that are currently open, and those planning to reopen or expand their services, the province has developed an online resource at https://novascotia.ca/reopening-nova-scotia/

Sector-specific re-opening plans can be found here: https://novascotia.ca/reopening-nova-scotia/prevention-plans/#sector-plans

More information can be found on our inTouch blog: https://tourismns.ca/news/intouch-blog/planning-reopening-businesses-nova-scotia