Tips & Resources for Reopening

The Government of Nova Scotia’s Reopening Plan has taken a five-phased approach to safely easing restrictions.

The plan has been based on ongoing progress of provincewide vaccination rates and improvements of public health and healthcare indicators like COVID-19 activity and hospitalizations. Phase 5 of the province’s plan is currently in effect. While most restrictions are being lifted in this phase, some are being maintained, and border restrictions have been added for people coming from Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.

View the Reopening Plan

Notable aspects of Phase 5 include: masks remain mandatory in indoor public places; physical distancing and gathering limits for events hosted by a recognized business or organization are being lifted; the informal gathering limits of 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors will remain in place; and proof of full vaccination will be required for non-essential events and activities.

View the Proof of Vaccination Policy

The following information will help you as you prepare to reopen your business or ramp up your operations. This information is based on best practices and information currently available and will be updated periodically.

Public Health Requirements

Businesses must follow all public health directives from the provincial government. Following these directives will be key to protecting the health and safety of our communities. Below are some tips to take into consideration:

  • Wash hands thoroughly and often. If soap and warm water are not available, then use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching the face, including your mouth, eyes, and nose.
  • Practice good cough and sneeze etiquette.
  • Practice physical distancing (maintaining a distance of 2m or 6 ft). If physical distancing is not possible, then wearing a face mask is recommended by the federal government.
  • Businesses may want to put stickers on the floor to encourage physical distancing and/or to indicate the flow of traffic.
  • The use of plexiglass or other plastic may be used as a barrier between employees and customers.
  • High touch surfaces should be washed and sanitized often.

Visit the Government of Nova Scotia’s webpage for more guidance from the province on how to keep workplaces safe.

Safe Reopening of Buildings

Due to the prolonged closures or reduced occupancy of many buildings, there are critical steps that the Municipality of East Hants Water Utility and individual property owners must take to ensure the safety of the entire community when reopening buildings. Click here to read more about these steps, and to access additional guidance from the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Businesses may be thinking of the PPE needed to operate safely and to protect their employees and customers. PPE includes items such as gloves, masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, and gowns, etc.

Ignite Labs and Rapid Response Platform are two resources that you may find useful to source PPE or if you manufacture PPE to provide it to others in need.

You may also be able to source PPE from local businesses:

If you are another local business with PPE, please contact us and we will share your information with other businesses.

Safety Signage and Printing Services

Businesses may want safety signage, such as social distancing guideline signs or hand washing posters, for your customers and/or employees to follow.

Contact Elmsdale Design & Print to assist you with your printing, signage and graphic needs.

Government Programs and Supports

Government programs and supports currently remain largely available. Some programs have been extended, or their eligibility criteria has been expanded. Please continue to monitor these programs, and we will continue to share updates in our email communications.

Click here for COVID-19 resource for businesses.


Communication with staff, customers, and suppliers will be critical to ensure smooth operations for your business. Keep them updated on your rules and procedures, as well as public health directives from the provincial and federal governments, and ensure that your employee’s contact information is up to date.

If your business continues to work on a reduced schedule, you will want to share this information with customers. If you have certain requirements that you want your customers to follow (e.g wearing a mask), please try to share this information in advance.

Childcare and Returning to Work

Licensed child care centres and family daycare homes can return to 100% capacity on June 2. In-person classes will resume on Thursday June 3 for schools in the HRM and Sydney areas, all other schools will resume a day earlier on Wednesday, June 2.

Sick Days

Anyone who may have symptoms of COVID-19 or is feeling unwell should stay home.

Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Program is now open for applications. Nova Scotians who need to take time off work because of COVID-19 may qualify for up to 4 paid sick days through the COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Program. Businesses can apply for reimbursement for an employee’s pay when an employee needs to take time off. Self-employed people can also apply.

Additional Resources