Skip to main content
Blue Background with virus icons.

COVID-19 Update – New Public Health Guidelines for Businesses

Thursday, November 26, 2020

With a recent spike in cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, the province has issued new public health restrictions. These restrictions could be updated or extended as the situation evolves, so please visit for the latest information.

Non-essential Travel

From Thursday November 26 to December 9, Nova Scotians are being asked to avoid non-essential travel:

  • in and out of western and central HRM (which is defined as HRM from Hubbards to, and including, Porters Lake and the communities up to Elmsdale and Mount Uniacke in Hants County - see for boundaries).
  • to other Atlantic provinces
  • outside of Atlantic Canada

Contract Tracing Requirements for all full-service restaurants and licenced establishments in Nova Scotia

Starting November 23, full-service restaurants and licensed establishments across the province must collect accurate contact information from at least one person in each party, including date and time of visit, name and phone number. This data must be retained for four weeks from date of visit for contact-tracing purposes. There is no end date for this requirement.

Restrictions for Businesses in HRM

From Thursday November 26 to December 9, the following will apply to the parts of western and central HRM:

  • restaurants and licenced establishments are closed for in-person dining but may provide take-out or delivery
  • retail stores must restrict shoppers and staff to 25 per cent or less of allowable capacity
  • wineries, distilleries and breweries cannot hold tastings or in-person dining and must follow retail rules in their stores (delivery and curbside pickup allowed)
  • organized sports, recreational, athletic, arts and cultural activities, faith-based activities are paused
  • profit and non-profit fitness and recreational facilities closed
  • libraries and museums are closed, including the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
  • the casino and First Nations gaming establishments are closed
  • stronger enforcement of illegal gatherings, including ticketing of all attendees (total fine of $1,000)

Gathering Limits in Areas of HRM and Hants County

From November 23 to December 21 in the areas of HRM and Hants County described above, the following gathering limits are in place for those activities that have not been closed or paused.

  • People can have a close social group of 5 without physical distancing (down from 10). This applies to groups sitting together at a restaurant or bar and groups sitting/being together at events. You can have up to five people visit your home in addition to members of your household.
  • The general gathering limit is now 25 with physical distancing (down from 50) except among people from the same household or close social group of 5. This applies to community events that are not hosted by a recognized business or organization. An example would be a neighourhood street party.
  • Events hosted by a recognized business or organization can have 150 outdoors (down from 250) and 50% of an indoor venue’s capacity to a maximum of 100 (down from 200). Physical distancing is required, except among people from the same household or close social group of 5. An example would be a wedding reception at a hotel.

Asymptomatic Testing for Bar and Restaurant Staff and Patrons in HRM

Public Health is advising anyone who works in a licensed establishment or went to a bar or restaurant in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) after 10 p.m. in the two weeks before Nov 24 to book a Covid-19 test, even if they don't have symptoms.

This applies to all bars and restaurants open late and serving alcohol in HRM (except the areas east of Porters Lake), and the Enfield and Mount Uniacke areas in both HRM and Hants County.

Asymptomatic testing will be available to staff and patrons of licensed establishments until Monday, Nov. 30. Walk-in testing is not available; people must book in advance. Visit to schedule a test.