New Regulation Updates

Updates as of May 28, 2021

The province announced that key changes in phase one include most businesses opening further, outdoor visits at long-term care facilities, and outdoor gathering limits increasing.

“Each phase is based on COVID-19 activity, public health and testing capacity, hospitalizations and vaccination rates,” the province said in a statement.

“Phases are expected to last between two and four weeks as long as certain criteria are met in these areas,” it added.
As Nova Scotia enters the later phases, businesses will gradually increase capacity to the maximum capacity possible with public health measures, and border restrictions will start easing.

Effective 8 a.m. on June 2 the following changes will take place:
  • Restaurants and licensed establishments can open patios at their maximum capacity with physical distance between tables, a limit of 10 people per table and masks when people are not eating or drinking; they must stop service by 11 p.m. and close by midnight

Click here for more information on the reopening phases

Updates as of May 26, 2021

The Nova Scotia government is amending the Liquor Licensing Regulations to help the restaurant and bar industry while ensuring protections are still in place for the safe and responsible sale and consumption of alcohol.

In addition, restaurants and bars now have the option to include cocktails and mixed drinks for delivery or take-out with food orders while the state of emergency order is in effect.

The new regulations allow for more choices for home delivery and take-out of alcohol with food orders. The changes go into effect today, May 26, giving bars and restaurants the option to:

  • expand the list of alcoholic beverages allowed with food orders to include manufactured ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages such as coolers
  • increase the value of a bottle of wine allowed with a home delivery to more than three times the cost of the food order to allow higher-end wines to be sold with food purchases

click here for protocol on third-party delivery.

Updates to Public Health Order as of April 24, 2021

The updated Public Health Order has been posted on line. The direct link to the order is:

With respect to the questions regarding hotel restaurants and food courts I would direct you to sections  11.5 (b) and 17.3 (f). 

New updates as of April 22, 2021

The restrictions are effective Friday, April 23, at 8 a.m. and will remain in effect until at least May 20. They apply to all areas of Halifax Regional Municipality as well as these entire communities: Hubbards, Milford, Lantz, Elmsdale, Enfield, South Uniacke, Ecum Secum and Trafalgar.

  • restaurants and licensed establishments are closed to seated service
  • licensed and unlicensed establishments cannot host activities such as darts, cards, pool and bowling
  • Click here for full list of updates

New updates as of March 20, 2021

  • Liquor licensed (drinking) establishments (like bars, wineries, distillery tasting rooms and craft taprooms) can only serve dine-in customers until 11pm and must close by 12am. Liquor licensed establishments can continue to offer take-out, delivery and drive-thru service after 12am.
  • Restaurants can only serve dine-in customers until 11pm and must close by 12am. Restaurants can continue to offer take-out, delivery and drive-thru service after 12am.

New updates as of March 04, 2021

Given low COVID-19 cases, the province is lifting or altering restrictions currently in place for Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and its neighbouring communities.

Many restrictions that came into effect on Feb. 27, such as restaurant hours, sport competitions, culture performances and non-essential travel, will end Friday, March 5 at 8 a.m.

"Last week we were worried about increased case numbers in Halifax but what we are seeing this week warrants lifting some restrictions early," said Premier Iain Rankin. "I know that restrictions can have a significant impact on businesses but safety is always the first priority, and I want to thank Nova Scotians for following public health advice as that has allowed us to ease them earlier. Thank you for doing your part to keep yourself, your family and your communities safe."

The following activities will be allowed:
-- travel in and out of HRM and surrounding municipalities
-- participants and officials in performing arts and sports (recreational, amateur and professional) can gather in groups of up to 60 people without social distancing for rehearsals, performances, practices and regular competitive schedule
-- spectators at performing arts and sports will be allowed as long as the host facilities have a gathering plan
-- the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development will reopen public school gyms for after-school use on March 6
-- restaurants and bars will return to previous dine-in service requirements, with service stopped by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m.
-- weddings and funeral in a faith facility or funeral homes can have 150 people outdoors or 50 per cent of capacity to a maximum of 100 indoors. Receptions and visitations continue to be not permitted in HRM and surrounding municipalities

Unchanged is the requirement for residents of long-term care facilities to only have visits from their two designated caregivers and can only leave the facility for medical appointments or for a drive with a designated caregiver. This restriction remains in effect until March 27 in HRM and surrounding municipalities.
"Thank you to all the Nova Scotians who turned out for testing over the past week," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health. "These record numbers helped give us a bigger picture of the virus in HRM and elsewhere in the province. It was critical to this decision."

Premier Rankin and Dr. Strang will address the easing of restrictions in more detail at Friday's COVID-19 briefing.

Affected by the restrictions were the suburban and urban areas of Halifax, including Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, Sackville, Cole Harbour, Eastern Passage, Middle Porters Lake, Fall River, Enfield, Lantz, Hammonds Plains, Herring Cove, the Prestons, Lake Echo, Timberlea, Tantallon, Mount Uniacke and St. Margarets Bay.

Additional Resources:

New updates as of February 26, 2021

With cases rising, Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, announced today, Feb. 26, that tighter restrictions will return in areas of Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and some neighbouring municipalities.

"Our case numbers are rising again, and the situation is serious. We need to act swiftly to stop it from snowballing," said Premier Rankin. "We are reintroducing restrictions in the Halifax area to limit opportunities for the virus to spread through social interactions. Across the province, everyone needs to stick close to home and be extremely vigilant with all the public health measures."

Restrictions are returning in areas of HRM up to and including Porters Lake, as well as the communities of Enfield, Elmsdale, Mount Uniacke and Hubbards effective 8 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27, and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 26, with an extension possible.

The following restrictions will apply to communities listed at :
-- restaurants and licensed establishments must stop service by 9 p.m. and close by 10 p.m.
-- faith-based gatherings can have 150 outdoors or 50 per cent capacity to a maximum of 100 indoors
-- wedding ceremonies and funerals can have 10 people including the officiant but there can be no wedding receptions and no funeral visitation or receptions
-- sports events, special events, arts and culture events and festivals are not permitted
-- sports practices and training and arts and culture rehearsals can have 25 people without physical distancing but there can be no games, competitions, tournaments or in-person performances and there can be no spectators
-- there can be no more than 25 people involved in a virtual performance, including performers and people managing the recording or livestream
-- business and organized club meetings and training can have 25 people - physical distancing is required except when emergency responders need to be closer than two metres for training
-- residents in long-term care homes can only have visits from their designated caregivers and can only leave for medical appointments or for a drive

Nova Scotians are also being asked to avoid all non-essential travel within the province and elsewhere, especially to and from the restricted areas of HRM, Hants and Lunenburg counties.

"We had hoped we would not be back in the situation where these restrictions are necessary. We understand that they are disruptive but they are absolutely critical to contain the spread of COVID-19," said Dr. Strang. "Everyone needs to behave with the same caution as they did last spring when the virus first arrived in Nova Scotia. Everyone needs to get tested even if they only have one mild symptom."

The following restrictions remain in place provincewide:
-- the general gathering limit is 10 indoors and outdoors
-- gatherings at a person's home are limited to 10, including people who live there
-- retail businesses and malls operate at 75 per cent capacity and follow other public health measures
-- fitness facilities such as gyms and yoga studios operate at 75 per cent capacity and maintain three metres between people doing high-intensity activities, including indoor and outdoor fitness classes
-- schools, after-school programs and child-care centres remain open following their respective sector plans
-- libraries, museums, casinos and the Nova Scotia Art Gallery remain open following their respective plans
-- adult day programs for seniors remain closed

People who do not follow the gathering limit can be fined. The fine is $1,000 for each person at an illegal gathering.

To protect Nova Scotia's borders, additional testing will be in place for some groups who regularly travel. Effective Monday, March 1, three COVID-19 tests are required for rotational workers, specialized workers, and parents and children whose child custody visits involve travel outside Nova Scotia or Prince Edward Island. A new child custody protocol details more requirements for visits and for situations where a parent or child has symptoms or a positive test result.

The definition of rotational and specialized workers is changing on Monday, March 1 to only include those who work in Canada. International workers are subject to the federal Quarantine Act.

More testing requirements are planned for other travellers.

Quick Facts:
-- enter your address to find out which restrictions apply in your community:
-- book a COVID-19 test at even if you only have one mild symptom
-- learn more about testing at

New updates as of January 4, 2021

Under the new Emergency Order all restaurants in Nova Scotia must abide by the following restrictions:

  • Maximum table size will be 10
  • Liquor service must stop at 10:00PM with patrons leaving by 11:00PM
  • There are no capacity limits other than maintaining  a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) or a physical barrier between tables, booths and single seats.
  • Restaurateurs are required to maintain a log containing the name and email address/phone number of at least one patron per party.

New updates as of December 31, 2020

Restaurants and licensed establishments in areas of Halifax Regional Municipality and Hants County can reopen for dine-in service starting January 4, 2021.

They must follow the provincewide restrictions, including ending service by 10 p.m. and closing by 11 p.m. They can continue takeout, delivery and drive-thru service with no restrictions. 

New updates as of December 16, 2020

Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, announced today, Dec. 16, that current restrictions in areas of Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and Hants County are extended, and new restrictions will be in place provincewide over the holidays to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Today's restrictions update:
-- the current restrictions in areas of Halifax Regional Municipality and Hants County are extended until 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 20
-- the closure of restaurants and licensed establishments for dine-in service in these areas is extended until 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 10; they can continue to offer takeout and delivery service
-- the Halifax casino will also remain closed until 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 10
-- new provincewide restrictions for gatherings, businesses and activities, as well as changes to long-term care restrictions will start Dec. 21 and be in place until Jan. 10

For businesses:
-- restaurants and licensed establishments, outside the areas of HRM and Hants County noted above, must stop service by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m.
-- retail and shopping mall rules currently in place for areas of HRM and Hants County will extend to the entire province, including operating at 25 per cent of their capacity; their food courts can remain open with public health measures in place including physical distance between tables

The province is working with the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia on a pilot project for an app that dine-in restaurants and licensed establishments can use to collect patrons' contact information for contact tracing. This will help standardize collection practices, ensure privacy of information, and reduce the burden on businesses. It will also improve public health's ability to contact patrons as needed. The Department of Business is giving the association up to $100,000 for the project.

New updates as of November 24, 2020

New restrictions will come into force at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 26, and continue for two weeks until midnight Dec. 9, with a possibility of extension.

Nova Scotians are being asked to avoid non-essential travel:
-- in and out of western and central HRM (which is defined as HRM from Hubbards to, and including, Porters Lake and the communities up to Elmsdale and Mount Uniacke in Hants County - see for boundaries).
-- to other Atlantic provinces

The following will apply to the parts of western and central HRM:

-- restaurants and licenced establishments are closed for in-person dining but may provide take-out or delivery
-- wineries, distilleries and breweries cannot hold tastings or in-person dining and must follow retail rules in their stores (delivery and curbside pickup allowed)

New updates as of November 20, 2020

Guidelines Changes for the Restaurants & Bars

Announced today that the collection of names at restaurants & bars is mandatory (one person per group collecting 1. time/date of entry 2. name, 3. email or contact number). Information to be held for 30 days. The person who provides their contact information should be familiar with all in their group. Public Health would be the department that will contact you regarding names if required. Province wide!

Table size in all sit-down food/bar establishments will change from 10 persons per table to 5 persons per table starting Monday, Nov. 23 in HRM

New updates as of October 15, 2020

Extension of Service

Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia (RANS) & Restaurants Canada submitted a request for several changes for restaurants & bars regarding the existing protocols.

As of Friday, October 16, liquor licensed establishments will be allowed to remain open till 1:00 am. This means that alcohol will be allowed to be served until 1:00 am and all alcohol must be removed from tables by 2:00 am and patrons can remain on the premises until the normal closing hours for the liquor license.

New updates as of September 25, 2020

Revised order:

Section 11: allows restaurants and liquor licensed establishment to remain open until normal closing hours as long as food and alcohol are removed from tables by 1am.  This allows those places that might be showing a late night sports event such as Raptors game 7 or the upcoming UFC fight to allow patrons to remain to finish watching the game without having to seek an exemption from Dr. Strang.

Section 11.2: allows restaurant and liquor licensed establishment patrons to play darts and pool therein.

Section 11.3: prohibits restaurants and liquor licensed establishments from holding dart or pool tournaments.