COVID-19 Restrictions Easing Next Week, Fully Lifted on March 21

Nova Scotia is moving up the timeline for easing public health restrictions and will end all restrictions on March 21.

“The restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic are a balancing act between keeping people safe and preventing other harms, and we knew we wouldn’t need them forever,” said Premier Tim Houston. “Now, it’s time to stop pulling the big levers, like broad restrictions, and shift to personal actions and responsibility. We all know what to do to protect ourselves and one another, and it’s time to get back to the people and things we love.”

On Monday, February 28, Phase 1 of the Province’s reopening plan will be adjusted to end the current requirement to show proof of full vaccination before participating in non-essential, discretionary events and activities. Other restrictions continue.

On Monday, March 7, at 12:01 a.m., Phase 2 will begin with the following restrictions in effect:

Gathering Limits
— the informal gathering limit will be 25 people from the same household or close social group indoors and 50 outdoors
— the formal gathering limit will be 75 per cent capacity, with physical distancing as much as possible, for gatherings hosted by a recognized business or organization such as special events, sports, receptions, performances, movie theatres, meetings, training, weddings, funerals and faith gatherings
— large venues can operate at 75 per cent capacity, up to 5,000 people, with physical distancing as much as possible.

— licensed establishments, restaurants and casinos can return to regular hours and operate at 75 per cent capacity, with physical distancing as much as possible
— VLTs can continue operating with two metres of physical distance between people at machines
— fitness and recreation facilities and recreation and leisure businesses can operate at 75 per cent capacity, with physical distancing as much as possible
— personal services businesses (like hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons and body art establishments) can operate at full capacity, with physical distancing as much as possible; services that require removing masks can be offered
— retail stores and malls can operate at full capacity (shoppers and staff) with physical distancing

Sports; Arts and Culture
— sports teams can have practices, games, competitions and tournaments with up to 60 participants, including players and officials; spectators are allowed, following the formal gathering limit
— performing arts can have rehearsals, performances and competitions with up to 60 participants, including performers and crew; spectators are allowed, following the formal gathering limit
— libraries and museums can operate at full capacity, with physical distancing.

— masks continue to be required in indoor public places; they can be lowered or removed for things like eating and drinking or doing a physical activity that’s difficult while wearing a mask
— people can resume lowering their masks to eat or drink in their seats at sports games, movies, concerts and other events.

During Phase 2, people who test positive for COVID-19 will still be required to self-isolate but they will no longer be required to notify close contacts outside their own household.

At acute-care and long-term care facilities, restrictions on visitation and in other areas will be determined through infection control and occupational health processes at each facility.

At public schools, current restrictions will remain in place until the end of March break.

Phase 3 – the removal of all provincial COVID-19 restrictions, including at schools – will begin March 21.

The changes in restrictions will be updated at

“This does not mean COVID-19 is gone,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Nova Scotia. “There is still lots of virus in communities and as we lift restrictions, our choices and actions become even more important. They will be the tools that we have to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect those around us who are more vulnerable.”

In addition to the changes in restrictions, the last daily news release on COVID-19 data will be issued March 4. It will be replaced by a weekly release.

Additional Resources:
Nova Scotia coronavirus website:

COVID-19 testing and online booking:

Government of Canada: or 1-833-784-4397 (toll-free)

The Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24/7 to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, or someone concerned about them, by calling 1-888-429-8167 (toll-free)

Anyone with a non-crisis mental health or addiction concern can call Community Mental Health and Addictions at 1-855-922-1122 (toll-free) weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Kids Help Phone is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free)

For help or information about domestic violence 24/7, call 1-855-225-0220 (toll-free)

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