Tips & Resources for Reopening
The Government of Nova Scotia has announced that the province will gradually reopen under a five-phase plan.
Each phase is expected to last between two to four weeks, and will be based on COVID-19 activity, public health and testing capacity, hospitalizations and vaccination rates. Phase 1, in which most businesses will be permitted to further open, comes into effect on June 2. In subsequent phases, businesses will gradually increase capacity to their maximum with public health measures such as physical distancing, gathering limits will further increase, events and activities will be allowed with increasing numbers of attendees, and border restrictions will start easing.
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.
You may also be able to source PPE from local businesses:
- Sangster’s Automotive has some PPE available.
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.
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.
- Canada Business Resilience Network: has pulled together a reopening toolkit to provide guidance to businesses.
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety: has tip sheets by industry which offer guidance on operating during a pandemic.
- Restaurants Canada: has identified best practices for reopening for the restaurant industry.
- Retail Council of Canada: has developed recovery planning resources for the retail industry.
- Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia: has created a resource hub to help Nova Scotians work safely through COVID-19.
- Halifax Chamber of Commerce: has created an infographic for each phase of Nova Scotia’ Re-opening Plan.