SYDNEY -- A new self-screening program will soon be an option for businesses in Nova Scotia to help track the spread of COVID-19.

The program – led by the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce, the province of Nova Scotia and the federal government - is aimed at restarting the economy and restoring consumer confidence.

Some business owners hope the new program will be key to keeping their doors open for good.

"The businesses don't want to end up in a situation again where we're shut down," said Michelle Wilson, the executive director for Sydney Downtown Development.

Wilson says anything to help stop the spread of COVID-19 is a step in the right direction for the economy to recover.

"I find, especially this last lockdown, was more harsh than any of the previous waves that we've seen so far," said Wilson. "I've heard from businesses who said, if it goes on too long, they might not be able to make it if we get locked down again."

Kathleen Yurchesyn is the CEO of the Cape Breton Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Yurchesyn says, once the program is up and running, businesses will need to electronically submit their screening results regularly – where the accumulated data will then be reported back to public health.

"We cannot afford to have another lockdown and the only way we're going to get through this is vaccination and testing," said Yurchesyn.