Some establishments to operate at full capacity, others at 75 per cent
Nova Scotia is moving to ease COVID-19 restrictions and to end it all by March 21, according to the government.
“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 Feb. 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.
But by March 7, the following businesses will be allowed to operate at 75 per cent capacity, with physical distancing as much as possible:
- licensed establishments, restaurants and casinos
- fitness and recreation facilities
- recreation and leisure businesses
Meanwhile, the following will be allowed to operate at full capacity, with physical distancing as much as possible:
- personal services businesses like hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons and body art establishments (services that require removing masks can be offered)
- retail stores and malls
VLTs can also continue operating with two metres of physical distance between people at machines:
- 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.
In December 2021, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) launched two new courses to help employers and employees prepare for a safe return to the workplace as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
“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.”
The province will still require masks to be used in indoor public places, though 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 also resume lowering their masks to eat or drink in their seats at sports games, movies, concerts and other events.
In August 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 begin wearing masks indoors once again in places with high transmission rates.
The changes in restrictions in Nova Scotia will be updated at https://novascotia.ca/reopening-plan
Several Twitter users shared their thoughts about the planned lifting of all restrictions in the province.
“With all restrictions lifted, how will Nova Scotia protect the vulnerable under 5 years old, who cannot be vaccinated?” said user Cee Gee.
“Time will tell. One unearned advantage Nova Scotia has had is how many other jurisdictions caught it before us, lifted public health measures before us, etc. We still have a whole month of watching places that eliminated restrictions first to reconsider our plans,” said user Matt Spurway.
Last month, WorkSafeBC announced it is posting COVID-19 safety plan resources online, including sector-specific protocols, checklists, planning templates, education and training materials, signage, and other tools to help out employers with their return to the workplace plans. These resources are available at worksafebc.com.