Last updated: April 6, 2020
What You Need To Know
The Public Health Agency of Canada is leading national efforts to contain the outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and working with the World Health Organization and other international partners.
The Canadian government has temporarily closed the border for non-essential travel. Please check www.travel.gc.ca and https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/canadas-reponse.html for the most up to date information. Due to the uncertainty and quick moving nature of the COVID-19 crisis, please note that international travel bans published by the government may change as the situation requires. Tourism Nova Scotia will relay any change in travel restriction as soon as the information becomes available.
The Province of Nova Scotia has declared a state of emergency. Nova Scotia borders have tightened to travellers and all entry points (land, sea, air) are being closely managed. Anyone entering the province must self-isolate for 14 days. Social gatherings of more than five people are not permitted. Outside of any previously identified required closures (dine-in restaurants, gyms, salons, etc.) businesses may remain open if a two-meter or six-foot distance can be maintained (social distancing). Workspaces must also be cleaned and disinfected at a minimum of twice daily, or as required, and employees must follow proper hygiene.
The Province of Nova Scotia has launched an Employer Assessment Tool to help businesses and organizations understand if they should remain open and how to keep employees and customers safe. See https://covid19-employer-assessment.novascotia.ca/en
Public health and safety is our top concern. We are in close communication with Destination Canada, our in-market representatives, and industry partners to ensure a coordinated response to tourism impacts. We are following the lead of public health experts and making adjustments to our marketing strategies and programming as required. We are gathering information from tourism industry partners and public health officials on new developments as they relate to the tourism sector. We are committed to keeping industry and travellers updated as new information becomes available. Information for travellers is available on NovaScotia.com
See our Frequently Asked Questions or click the headings below for more information.
The year-round visitor information centres at Amherst and Halifax Stanfield International Airport are closed until further notice. The tourism contact centre, which handles calls from travellers seeking trip planning information, is also closed. Callers are being referred to the government of Nova Scotia’s website for detailed information on COVID-19, as well as NovaScotia.com for travel information and updates. As an additional precaution, Tourism Nova Scotia corporate offices are closed and staff are working remotely.
Our business development team is available to help you navigate newly announced and already existing programs and resources to support you in moving through and beyond this situation.
Our research team is working to develop scenarios that will estimate the possible impact of COVID-19 on tourism demand, and the resulting possible impact on provincial tourism revenues in 2020 and 2021. We will be working with national and provincial partners to develop indicators that will help us understand future travel intentions. These activities are a priority and we’ll share them with you when they are available.
At this time, all marketing campaigns in our key markets of Ontario, Quebec, Northeastern US, UK, Germany and China are on hold until further notice.
The Department of Business, through a rapid response team, is working collaboratively with business associations from across Nova Scotia, along with Tourism Nova Scotia and other Crown corporations and provincial and municipal partners. The focus is on preserving the cash flow of small business, including increasing access to credit, and deferring fees and expenses whenever possible.
Details about provincial measures to support businesses are available at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/#support
Covid-19 Small Business Rental Deferral Guarantee Program
The provincial government is encouraging landlords to defer payment of commercial leases for three months and spread those payments over the remainder of the lease agreement. Landlords who enter into a rental deferral agreement with their eligible tenants will be able to claim losses of rental income.
To be eligible for the COVID-19 Small Business Rental Deferral Guarantee Program, landlords must register with the Department of Business by April 3.
Landlords can register by emailing NSRentDeferral@novascotia.ca.
The rent deferral agreement with tenants must be in place by April 1.
The province has shared these template Rent Deferral Agreements:
- Rent Deferral Agreement - Net Lease
- Rent Deferral Agreement - Gross Lease
- Rent Deferral Agreement - Instructions
COVID 19 Worker Emergency Bridge - The Worker Emergency Bridge will help people who are no longer working and need help as soon as possible. Nova Scotians laid off or out of work on or after March 16, 2020 due to Covid-19, and ineligible for Employment Insurance, are eligible for a one-time, $1,000 payment to help them meet their basic needs. See https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/#support
Small Business COVID 19 Impact Grant - Eligible small business can receive a one-time grant of up to 15 per cent of their revenue from sales for either February 2020 or April 2019, at the option of the business owner, to a maximum of $5,000 per enterprise. The deadline to apply is April 25, 2020. See https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/#support
Nova Scotia COVID-19 Fact Sheet for Businesses
Government of Canada Support for Businesses and Employees
The Government of Canada has announced an Economic Response Plan for COVID-19, which includes measures aimed at supporting businesses and workers affected by COVID-19. Measures include income support for workers, wage subsidies for employers, access to credit for businesses, and flexibility for business filing taxes.
See Destination Canada's updates for industry, including resources for businesses here.
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
See the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency's information for businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Business Development Bank of Canada
Find support for entrepreneurs impacted by the coronavirus COVID-19 through the Business Development Bank of Canada. The Business Development Bank has also launched an app to help businesses keep track of available resources and updates.
Employment Insurance and Federal Work-Sharing Program
The Government of Canada has waived the one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits for employees who are ill or must self-isolate. The Work-Sharing program is implementing temporary special measures to support employers and employees affected by the downturn in business caused by COVID-19. Details are available through Employment and Social Development Canada.
Contact the new dedicated toll-free phone number if you are in quarantine and seeking to waive the one-week EI sickness benefits waiting period so you can be paid for the first week of your claim: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free).
Businesses can do their part in preventing potential transmission by referring to World Health Organization’s Getting Your Workplace Ready for COVID-19.
Given the circumstances, we encourage businesses to consider special cancellation and refund policies as well as communicating any relevant updates directly to customers.
Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS)
The Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia has launched a new digital hub to support industry during COVID-19.
Restaurants and Food Service
Hotel Association of Canada
The Hotel Association of Canada has prepared COVID-19 resources for hotel operators, including Frequently Asked Questions, and useful information for accommodation operators to support customers and employees. Visit http://hotelassociation.ca/coronavirus
Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC)
ITAC is accepting applications to the COVID-19 Development Stimulus Fund to assist in providing relief for Canadian Indigenous tourism businesses that are being affected by the impacts of travel restrictions and prepare for future tourism seasons.
Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB)
The CFIB has a list of frequently asked questions and resources for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 on their website.
See the Canadian Economic Dashboard and COVID-19 for Statistics Canada economic data.
The current assessment indicates that the overall risk to Canadians is considered high. The public health risk is being continually reassessed as new information becomes available. PHAC’s online resources can be found here: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html
PHAC can also be reached at 1-833-784-4397 (interpretation services are available in multiple languages) and via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Advice and recommendations from Nova Scotia’s health officials can be found at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/.
Anyone arriving in Nova Scotia from outside of the province must self-isolate for 14 days, even if symptom-free. Social gatherings have been limited to no more than 5 people.
Government of Nova Scotia’s Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update
Government of Canada’s Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update
- English - https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html
- French - https://www.canada.ca/fr/sante-publique/services/maladies/2019-nouveau-coronavirus.html
Handwashing Tips Posters
Canadians have been advised to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the country and to return as quickly as possible if they are abroad. Anyone returning to Canada is legally required to self-isolate for 14 days, even if symptom-free. Non-essential travel between provinces is discouraged.
Canadian travellers are advised to sign up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service here to stay connected with the Government of Canada in case of an emergency abroad or at home.
Travel into Canada is restricted to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, with some exceptions. Air crews, diplomats and immediate family members of Canadians will be permitted entry.The Government of Canada and the United States have agreed to temporarily close the border to non-essential visitors.
Please check these websites www.travel.gc.ca and https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/canadas-reponse.html for the most up to date information.
Due to the uncertainty and quick moving nature of the COVID-19 crisis, please note that international travel bans published by the government may change as the situation requires.
Additionally, only four airports in Canada will continue to receive international flights: Vancouver International Airport, Toronto Pearson International, Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Calgary International. Several airlines have suspended or limited commercial flights.
Halifax Stanfield International Airport is working with the PHAC and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to facilitate and implement health-screening measures at the airport. You can find more information about measures underway at Halifax Stanfield here.
As a response to COVID-19, the Government of Canada has deferred the start of the cruise ship season in Canada from April 2, 2020 to July 1, 2020 at the earliest. This deferral will apply to cruise ships capable of carrying more than 500 passengers and crew members. See the news release from Transport Canada.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has announced additional enhanced screening measures in response to COVID-19, effective March 4. See the enhanced screening measures.
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 at the earliest. See the backgrounder from Transport Canada.
Operators still able to operate must:
- Immediately reduce by 50% the maximum number of passengers that are carried on-board (conduct half-load voyages); OR
- Implement alternative practices to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 (consistent with Public Health Agency of Canada guidelines) among passengers on-board their vessels
The Interim Order also states that operators must implement new public health guidelines, including pre-boarding health checks. See the new Transport Canada guidelines.
Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health is directing individuals, employers and community organizations to limit social gatherings to no more than 5 people to limit spread. As a result, many venues and attractions are temporarily closed and events cancelled. Please inquire directly with organizers and operators about status updates.
The following measures are now in effect until further notice:
- restaurants are restricted to take-out and delivery only and no in-person dining. Restaurants will be allowed to include alcohol purchases with takeout and delivery orders as long as the alcohol cost is not more than three times the value of food ordered, effective March 30
- drinking establishments, winery and distillery tasting rooms and craft taprooms must close
- private liquor stores can continue to operate and craft breweries, wineries and distilleries can continue to sell their product from their storefronts
- provincial parks, beaches, and tourist attractions are closed. All travel into those parks and beaches is strictly prohibited. Provincial trails located outside of parks will remain open for exercise. Gathering limits and social istancing guidelines must be followed
- reservations for the 2020 camping season are on hold; an announcement will made when they are available
- all Nova Scotia Museum sites and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax are closed to the public until further notice
- the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 and the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park are also closed until further notice.
Parks Canada has temporarily suspended all visitor services in all national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas across the country until further notice.Parks Canada has also temporarily suspended all motor vehicle access by visitors at all national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas until further notice. This action is intended to significantly reduce visitation and respects the advice of public health experts to stay home and avoid public gatherings. Given the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19, please visit www.parkscanada.gc.ca/covid-19 for the latest information.
Destination Canada has cancelled Rendez-vous Canada 2020.
See Events East’s update on facility operations at the Halifax Convention Centre and Scotiabank Centre related to COVID-19.
Anyone who starts to feel unwell should stay at home/self-isolate away from the public. Individuals who develop a fever, with a temperature 38°C or higher, and/or cough should call 811 for assessment.
Nova Scotia Health Authority has established COVID-19 assessment centres. If there is a need for in-person assessment, 811 will refer you to a centre. Please do not go to a COVID-19 assessment centre without having been referred by 811.
People in Nova Scotia who have been directed to self-isolate can receive supporting health information from Nova Scotia Health Authority Public Health by contacting the nearest office.
Note: Where language may be a barrier, tour operators, accommodation providers, and other tourism businesses can provide support by offering to contact a health-care professional on behalf of visitors seeking assistance.
If you self-isolate or feel unwell:
- Avoid close contact with people with chronic conditions, compromised immune systems and older adults.
- Avoid having visitors to your home.
- Avoid situations like social gatherings, work, school, daycare, visiting other people who are in a healthcare facility or long-term care residence.
- Limit taking public transit, taxis and ride sharing.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water frequently for at least 20 seconds; use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cover your mouth and nose with your arm or a tissue when coughing or sneezing; throw the tissue away.