HALIFAX -- More Nova Scotians will be allowed to visit their loved ones in hospital beginning Thursday. 

Nova Scotia Health announced Tuesday that it is easing visitor restrictions to allow family members, primary support persons and caregivers more opportunities to support patients in hospital, where it is safe and feasible to do so.

Tight visitor restrictions have been in place in Nova Scotia hospitals during the COVID-pandemic, but as the province continues to report low case numbers, Nova Scotia Health says it’s time to ease some of those restrictions.

“It is hard for patients to be separated from their loved ones during a hospital stay,” said Madonna MacDonald, vice-president of health services for Nova Scotia Health in a news release. “This change recognizes the important role of caregivers as essential partners in patient care and will support the health and mental well-being of our patients.”

As of Thursday, all hospital inpatients will be allowed to have two visitors at the same time, without an appointment required.

That includes family members, support people and caregivers, and these individuals may change daily.

Additional family members may be allowed for those approaching end-of-life, based on discussion with the care team.

Also new as of Thursday, patients arriving at Nova Scotia hospitals for appointments or procedures will be allowed to have one person accompany them.

Nova Scotia Health says there may be circumstances where space restrictions don’t allow for physical distancing from other patients, in which case staff will discuss options based on patient needs.


The IWK Health Centre is also easing restrictions for support people this week.

Beginning Thursday, all inpatients will be allowed to have two support people or family caregivers with them at the same time. This applies to patients admitted for both pediatric and adult care.

All patients will be allowed to have one support person attend appointments, including those at clinics, the emergency department, early labour assessment, at ultrasounds and day surgery.

All patients and support people will be screened at the door.

Patients and support people are asked to make childcare arrangements for siblings and children who are not receiving care at the hospital. However, infants who are breastfeeding are welcome at the IWK.


Nova Scotia Health says all support person/family caregivers must:

  • be feeling well at the date and time of the visit
  • be screened upon entry; anyone with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, on self-isolation or being tested for COVID-19 due to recent travel or potential exposure to the virus will not be permitted to enter
  • wear a mask covering their nose and mouth at all times
  • maintain a physical distance of two metres (six feet) from staff and other patients
  • wash their hands when entering and leaving the hospital and when entering and leaving the patient’s room
  • go directly to and from the patient’s room, or visit location, and remain there for the duration of the visit

Nova Scotia Health says it will continue to closely monitor the situation and make changes when needed.   

Last week, the Nova Scotia government announced the easing of restrictions in long-term care homes to allow designated caregivers to help care for and support residents.