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Phase 5 Starting with Cautious Approach

Phase 5 of Nova Scotia’s reopening plan is starting October 4 with a cautious approach. While most restrictions will be lifted, some will be maintained, and border restrictions will be added for people coming from Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Some notable aspects of Phase 5 include:

  • masks will continue to be mandatory in indoor public places

  • physical distancing and gathering limits for events hosted by a recognized business or organization will be lifted

  • the informal gathering limits of 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors will remain in place

  • proof of full vaccination will be required for non-essential events and activities

“The Delta variant has impacted our epidemiology. The fourth wave is taking its toll across the country and it’s now in Nova Scotia,” said Premier Tim Houston. “We can lift some restrictions with the added protection of the proof of full vaccine protocol and our high vaccination rates, but masking and limits for informal gatherings need to stay in place. We’re taking a cautious approach so we can keep moving forward, even in the midst of the fourth wave.”

Starting at 12:01 a.m. on October 4, proof of full vaccination will be required for people who are 12 and older to participate in discretionary, non-essential events and activities that gather people together, such as going to restaurants, movies, sports events, theatre performances, social events and the gym.

Based on conversations with people in many sectors in the past week, some changes have been made in the list of places where proof of full vaccination will be required. For example, proof of vaccination will not be required for general library access but will be required to participate in library programs that bring groups of people together. It will apply to dining in at fast-food establishments, but not to takeout, delivery, drive-thru or food courts.

Proof of vaccination will not be required under the provincewide protocol for employees of businesses and organizations that offer these events and activities, but it will be required for their volunteers. Businesses and organizations are encouraged to set their own vaccination policies. Any policies should take legal and ethical implications into consideration. People who are not fully vaccinated need to be able to access essential services.

The proof of full vaccination protocol and resources for businesses and organizations where it applies are available at:

Effective at 8 a.m. on October 4, everyone coming to Nova Scotia from other Canadian provinces and territories will need to complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in form. Their isolation will be based on vaccination status and testing. People who were fully vaccinated at least 14 days before arriving do not have to isolate, but testing is recommended. People who are not fully vaccinated must isolate for at least seven days and get two negative test results in Nova Scotia to stop isolating after seven days. They must be lab-based tests, not rapid tests.

“Our border measures have been integral to our success in managing the pandemic to date, and we need to strengthen them right now given the fourth wave activity, particularly in the Atlantic region,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “The proof of full vaccination requirement will be another important tool to keep Nova Scotians safe through the fourth wave. I want to thank the businesses and organizations who have helped us implement public health measures throughout this pandemic. Please be kind when they ask you to show your proof – the law will require it, and they will have to check before you can participate in discretionary events and activities.”

Quick Facts:

  • people with a valid medical reason that prevents vaccination can get an exception letter from their physician or nurse practitioner to show instead of proof of full vaccination

  • a small number of Nova Scotians who participated in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials have already been sent an exception letter to show instead of proof of full vaccination

  • children who turned 12 between January 1 and October 4 this year will have until Dec. 31 to attend events and activities while they get vaccinated; children who turn 12 after October 4 will have three months from their birthday

  • youth who are 13 to 18 years old and have proof that they received one dose of vaccine can participate in sport, recreation, arts and culture programming and have until October 26 to get their second dose

  • the provincial state of emergency will continue to be in effect until further notice

Additional Resources: Nova Scotia’s reopening plan: COVID-19 testing appointments: Government of Canada: Government of Canada information line 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)


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