Restriction Updates Dec.4,2020:

Premier Stephen McNeil and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang announced today, Dec. 4, that the current restrictions in areas of Halifax Regional Municipality and Hants County are extended until at least Dec. 16. They also announced the launch of a period of asymptomatic testing across the province. The purpose is to limit the potential spread of the virus by detecting positive cases in people who do not have symptoms. Testing is recommended for people who:

  • are 16 to 35 years old, even if they previously tested negative
  • have attended an indoor social gathering without physical distancing in the last two weeks, especially if it was larger than the gathering limits in place for that community
  • have a large number of regular social interactions with different groups without physical distancing

In addition, pop-up sites will continue in different locations around the province. Anyone age 16 or older is welcome to get tested if they do not have symptoms and are not at higher risk of exposure, which means they:

  • are not a close contact of a known case
  • have not been at a location listed in an exposure notice that recommends testing
  • have not traveled outside the Atlantic provinces within the past 14 days

People getting tested through this process are not required to self-isolate while waiting for their test or results. People getting tested for other reasons can find their self-isolation requirements at The new restrictions came into force at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 26, and will continue until at least Dec.16. 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:

  • the gathering limit in public is five (or up to the number of members of an immediate family in a household)
  • mandatory masking now applies to common areas of multi-unit residential buildings, such as apartment buildings and condos
  • restaurants and licensed establishments are closed for in-person dining but may provide take-out or delivery
  • retail stores must restrict shoppers and staff to 25 per cent or less of allowable capacity
  • wineries, distilleries and breweries cannot hold tastings or in-person dining and must follow retail rules in their stores (delivery and curbside pickup allowed)
  • organized sports, recreational, athletic, arts and cultural activities, faith-based activities are paused
  • profit and non-profit fitness and recreational facilities closed
  • libraries and museums are closed, including the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
  • the casino and First Nations gaming establishments are closed
  • stronger enforcement of illegal gatherings, including ticketing of all attendees (total fine of $1,000)

Schools, after-school programs and childcare will remain open while certain personal services businesses such as hairstylists, estheticians and nail salons in western and central HRM can continue except procedures that cannot be done while a patron is masked. The following new restrictions apply across the province:

  • to protect our most vulnerable, there will be no visitors except volunteers and designated caregivers to long-term care facilities and Adult Residential Centres and Regional Rehabilitation Centres licensed by the Department of Community Services
  • sports teams are restricted to local or regional play only
  • no extracurricular activities between schools

To further protect our most vulnerable, staff, volunteers and designated caregivers at long-term facilities in HRM will undergo voluntary, bi-weekly testing. Testing will be phased-in starting Nov. 27.

COVID-19 loves social and group activities because it can spread quickly and easily,” said Dr. Strang. “These measures are targeted to reduce the situations in which COVID-19 thrives. Go to work or go to school, then go home and stay there. One family member can shop for necessities. It will likely get worse before it gets better so don’t falter in following public health measures.”

Symptoms of COVID-19

Watch for symptoms. Symptoms can vary from person to person and in different age groups. Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. The severity of COVID-19 symptoms can range from mild to severe, and in some cases, can lead to death. Current information suggests most people don’t experience severe illness or need to be hospitalized.

When to call 811

Call 811 for assessment if in the past 48 hours you have had, or you are currently experiencing: Fever (i.e. chills/sweats) OR Cough (new or worsening) OR Two or more of the following symptoms (new or worsening):

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose/nasal congestion
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath

You should also call 811 for assessment if you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or have any other symptoms that concern you.

Regular COVID Testing means:

Nova Scotia Health Authority has established COVID-19 assessment centres. If you need in-person assessment, 811 will refer you to a centre (don’t go to a COVID-19 assessment centre unless 811 referred you). After testing, you’re legally required to self-isolate for 14 days if you:

  • are waiting for your COVID-19 test results
  • have tested positive for COVID-19
  • have tested negative for COVID-19, but had close contact with someone who has or is suspected to have COVID-1


  • You can now do a COVID-19 self-assessment online instead of calling 811. It is a faster option to get screened for testing. 811 will continue to take calls from people who cannot access the online self-assessment or who wish to speak with a nurse about their symptoms.