Skip to main content

Nova Scotia will begin easing COVID-19 restrictions on Monday


Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said the province will begin easing some COVID-19 restrictions effective Monday and will continue to do so in phases moving forward.

"The reality is, the more we let COVID control our daily lives, the longer we will see the negative impacts, especially on our children and in our seniors," said Houston.

Houston says the province will use a three-phase plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions.

Phase 1 is scheduled to begin at 12:01 a.m. on Monday. In this phase, events will be allowed again, gathering limits will increase and all border restrictions for domestic travellers will be lifted.

Most changes expected to take effect in Phase 1 are as follows:

  • Informal gathering limits will increase to 25 people (up from 10), and they can be from the same household or a consistent social group.
  • Formal gathering limits will be increased to 50 per cent of the capacity at the venue, including funerals and wedding receptions, festivals, fundraisers, and other special events.
  • Performances and sports games will be allowed, including when they take place as part of school extra-curricular activities.
  • Limits for participants in sports, arts and culture will increase to 60 people.
  • Spectators will be allowed following the formal gathering limits.
  • Regular faith services can have up to 50 per cent of the venue's capacity, with performers, like choirs, following the limits under sports, arts and culture. Choirs are recommended to keep their masks on during performances in Phase 1.
  • Congregations can sing again but the mask requirement will remain in place for them during Phase 1.
  • Retail store and malls can operate at maximum capacity possible with physical distancing.
  • Fitness, recreation facilities, businesses and organizations can operate at 75 per cent capacity. This includes places like gyms, arenas, libraries, dance lessons, dog training,  and museums.
  • Bars and restaurants can operate at 75 per cent capacity. Distance of two metres between tables is still required in Phase 1 and a limit of 25 people maximum per table. Bars and restaurants will be permitted to provide table service until midnight (up from the previous time of 11 p.m.).

During Phase 1, Strang says masks will continue to be required in indoor public places and proof of full vaccination will continue to be required for discretionary activities. These restrictions may also continue in Phase 3, depending on epidemiology.

Masking and cohorting in schools will also continue in the first phase, but singing and the use of wind and brass instruments can resume.

During Phase 1, schools will be allowed to resume all extra-curricular activities following community guidance for sports, arts and cultures.

In long-term care, residents will be able to have two visitors at a time in Phase 1.

"We were restricting it to only two, and they have to be consistent visitors, but as of Monday, they will no longer have to be the same two visitors," said Strang.

A full list of changes in Phase 1 can be found on the province's website.

In Phase 2, gathering limits will be further increased, and in Phase 3, there will be no more gathering limits or physical distance requirements.

"As always, we aim to strike the balance between measures that help limit the spread of the virus and allowing our society and economy to function," said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health for Nova Scotia. "As we ease restrictions, we'll monitor closely and make adjustments to our plans if necessary."

The province's top doctor says each phase will last about a month. Moving into the next phase will depend on epidemiology, hospitalizations, case activity in long-term care facilities and employee absenteeism.

"There will be lots more to say about the moving forward over the coming weeks. We will have a lot to say about that," said Houston.

Houston said the province is able to ease restrictions thanks to the province's high vaccine rates and the fact that Nova Scotia is leading the country in booster doses.

"It's also happening because we know the need to balance between restrictions and the risk of COVID in terms of our overall public health," he said.


Houston said the province is contributing $65 million to health authorities, long-term care and home care to increase wages for continuing care assistants (CCAs), who will now become the highest paid in Atlantic Canada.

Effective Thursday, wages will increase by approximately 23 per cent for unionized and non-unionized CCAs at all levels in the publicly funded sector. The change will bring the top annual salary to $48,419.

According to Houston, the change will provide an annual increase of close to $9,000 a year for most full-time CCAs. Those currently at the top of their pay scale will reach this level immediately.

"So, my message to those of you who have felt undervalued to the point that you have left the profession, please come back. We need you now more than ever. We want you, we need you, we value you and we respect you," said Houston, during a live news conference on Wednesday.

Currently in Nova Scotia, the continuing care sector is facing serious recruitment and retention issues with many CCAs working short-staffed under difficult conditions. The province says this is impacting the quality and availability of care for seniors and their families.

"We're doing everything we can to fix the system, and we've heard from CCAs and unions time and again that we can't do this until we address wages for CCAs, which I was shocked to hear were the lowest in the country," said Houston. "We feel the urgency and the frustration. The system needs investment, and the workers need support now. We want them to know they are heard, valued and respected."

Those groups with collective agreements that are already settled will be adjusted upward to the new levels and those not yet settled will incorporate the new pay scales.


On Wednesday, Nova Scotia also reported five more deaths related to COVID-19.

Details of the deaths, as well as COVID-19 daily numbers, vaccine numbers, and hospitalization numbers for Wednesday can be found here. Top Stories

Stay Connected