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Sunrise over ocean and forest at Kejimkujik National Park

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates and Resources

Last updated: May 15, 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 (campgrounds, 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.

TNS Operations and Marketing

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 open and has resumed travel counselling services. 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.

Tourism businesses and organizations are invited to participate in the Tourism Nova Scotia Webinar Series, which will provide practical information you can use to steer your business through COVID-19 and then rebuild and recover following the pandemic.

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. The COVID-19 Tourism Recovery Research and Marketing Approach can be found here.

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.

Province of Nova Scotia Support for Businesses

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 Credit and Support Program

Starting April 29, the Province of Nova Scotia will offer a temporary stream for access to credit, cash grants, and support delivered through participating credit unions. To be eligible, small businesses must have a payroll less than $20,000 in the previous fiscal year and have experienced a decline in revenue from sales of at least 15 per cent in March or at least 30 per cent in April, May or June. Maximum loan amount is $25,000.  Upon approval, businesses will receive a grant up to $1,500 as well as a COVID-19 Business Continuity Voucher of up to $1,500 to help hire consultants for advice and support. This new stream will be available until June 30. See https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus  

Access to Training and Business Advice 

The Province of Nova Scotia is partnering with Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) to offer education, training and guidance for small businesses. Through a central online hub, the program will connect businesses across the province with support programs available through post-secondary institutions, government, and other regional organizations. To receive follow up from an NSCC regional team member businesses should complete a short intake form at https://www.nscc.ca/sites/covid19-business-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:

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for Small Business

The federal and provincial governments are partnering to provide commercial rent relief for small businesses that have temporarily ceased operations or experienced a 70 per cent revenue decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic. See: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html

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 and Resources 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 the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

Destination Canada

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.

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

Businesses and organizations across Atlantic Canada unable to access existing federal relief measures can now apply for funding through the Regional Recovery and Relief Fund. Businesses in sectors that are critical to the resilience and survival of Atlantic Canada’s economy, such as advanced manufacturing, ocean industries, clean growth technology, and tourism, may be given priority.

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).

Other Resources for Businesses

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 Nova Scotia Webinar Series

The Tourism Nova Scotia Webinar Series which will provide weekly webinars with practical information you can use to steer your business through COVID-19 and then rebuild and recover following the pandemic. 

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.

TIANS has also published a number of resources to provide direction to campground operators and their guests.

Restaurants and Food Service

Information and resources for foodservice operators are available on Restaurants Canada's website, including the Crisis Preparedness Kit.

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.

The CFIB has also created a Facebook group to connect businesses looking to buy and sell personal protective equipment.

Statistics Canada

See the Canadian Economic Dashboard and COVID-19 for Statistics Canada economic data.

Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)

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: phac.info.aspc@canada.ca

Prevention and Planning

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

Handwashing Tips Posters

Travel Advisories

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.

Read the latest PHAC travel advisories.

Flights and Border Services

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.

All travellers to Canada are required to have adequate self-isolation plans. This is mandatory at all Canadian border crossings and airports. Those with inadequate self-isolation plans will be required to self-isolate for two weeks in a quarantine location, like a hotel. See the Government of Canada guidelines.

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 or motor carrier/bus modes of transportation are also strongly encouraged to wear non-medical masks or face coverings as much as possible. Passengers may be asked by the transportation operator to cover their noses and mouths when physical distancing is not possible. See the measures from Transport Canada.

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.

Cruise lines, Ferries, and Commercial Passenger Vessels

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.

Allowance to operate under restrictions (i.e. operating at 50% capacity) is permitted only for essential passenger vessels and ferry vessels, as defined in the Interim Order. Details of recommended screening procedures for operators of essential passenger vessels and ferry vessels, including suggested health check questions, can be found online. See the new Transport Canada guidelines.

When travelling by marine modes of transportation, travellers are encouraged to wear non-medical masks or face coverings whenever possible. See the measures from Transport Canada.

Campgrounds, Parks, Festivals, Events, Outdoor Recreation, and Tourism Attractions

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:

  • Provincial and municipal parks and trails are open, but playground equipment will continue to be off limits. Gathering limits and social distancing guidelines must be followed.

  • Public beaches are permitted to reopen.

  • Provincial tourist attractions remain closed.

  • Provincial campgrounds remain closed. Provincial parks reservations for the 2020 camping season are on hold; an announcement will made when they are available.

  • Private campgrounds can open for seasonal campers in fixed RV campsites, i.e. RVs that are used as cottages. Short-term camping is still closed. Use of RVs is restricted to one household unit at a time, travel must be directly to the RV and back, and travelling back and forth frequently from RV and primary residence is discouraged. People must keep two metres apart and not gather in groups of more than five.

  • Sportfishing is now open. You can fish from shore or a boat. However, you need to maintain a physical distance of at least 2 metres or 6 feet from others, when you’re on shore and at the boat launch. If you’re fishing from a boat, you can only be with people who live in the same house as you do. No derbies or festival events are allowed at this time. People from outside Nova Scotia cannot sport fish here or tow boats to sport fish here at this time.

  • Archery, equestrianism, golf, surfing, paddling, sailing/boating and tennis are permitted to resume at outdoor facilities provided social distancing, environmental cleaning and participant hygiene can be maintained; organized coaching or training, competitions, tournaments, regattas or similar events are not permitted.

  • 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.

  • People are allowed to use and visit community gardens.
  • 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. Starting June 1, some Parks Canada places will begin to offer limited access and services while maintaining physical distancing measures. 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.

Seeking Medical Attention

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.