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The Current Situation on Cape Breton Island

Last updated: June 14th, 2021

Phase 1 of Nova Scotia’s reopening plan is in effect. During this phase, we can have more social connections, businesses, and activities. Plan phases are based on the ongoing progress of vaccination rates and improvements of public health and healthcare indicators. Phase 2 is expected to begin on June 16th. 

As of June 14th, Nova Scotia’s Eastern Zone, which includes Cape Breton, has 39 active cases of Covid-19. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is actively monitoring the current outbreak of Covid-19, and working with the World Health Organization along with other international partners.

Please visit the following website for more information regarding Nova Scotia’s reopening plan.

Travel to Nova Scotia 

Everyone who is allowed to travel into Nova Scotia from outside Nova Scotia (including if you’re traveling through Nova Scotia to another destination) needs to apply to travel to Nova Scotia by completing the Safe Check-in Form and must self-isolate for 14 days when they arrive in Nova Scotia, or for the duration of their stay if it’s less than 14 days. You don’t need to self-isolate if you’re exempt from self-isolation.

If you don’t have COVID-19 symptoms, you should get tested for COVID-19 on day 1 or 2 of your self-isolation. If you’re still in Nova Scotia, you should get tested again on days 12, 13, or 14. You can leave self-isolation to get tested. You need to self-isolate for the full 14 days, even with negative test results.

Please click here to apply to travel to Nova Scotia with the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in form.

The Atlantic Bubble

The expected date for the re-opening of the Atlantic Bubble is June 30th.

The Atlantic Bubble will allow Travellers from Atlantic Canada (New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador) can enter the province and may need to self-isolate when they arrive in Nova Scotia. The period of time you need to self-isolate may be based on your vaccination status and testing. More details to come.

Gathering Limits and Social Contacts

You need to follow gathering limits unless your group has an exemption identified in the Health Protection Act Order (PDF).

The following gathering limits are in place:

  • Informal social gathering limit indoors is no more than your household (the people you live with) without social distancing and masks. Two smaller households with 1 to 2 people in each household can gather without social distancing and masks (it must be the same 2 households all the time).
  • Informal social gathering limit outdoors is up to 10 people without social distancing and masks. You should try to keep your group of 10 consistent (the same people all the time).
  • Outdoor faith gatherings can have up to 10 people with social distancingDrive-in faith services have no limit on the number of vehicles, but you can only be in a vehicle with your household (the people you live with). Indoor faith gatherings are not permitted.
  • People can participate in outdoor recreational activities (like golfing, fitness classes, tennis, and boot camps) hosted by fitness and recreation businesses and organized clubs. The gathering limit is up to 10 people maximum or multiple groups of 10 people each with a minimum physical distance of 2 meters (6 feet) between participants and groups during activities. Learn more: fitness and recreation business and service restrictions.
  • People can participate in and businesses and organizations can host 1:1 outdoor lessons (1 participant and 1 instructor) for organized sports and arts and culture with a minimum physical distance of 2 meters (6 feet) during the lesson. Group training and lessons (multiple participants and 1 instructor) are not permitted. Learn more: fitness and recreation business and service restrictions.
  • Performing arts – Professional artists, musicians, dancers, and actors can rehearse indoors with up to 15 people and outdoors with up to 25 people without social distancing. Wearing a mask is required indoors when you can’t maintain a minimum physical distance of 2 meters (6 feet) from others (except during activities that are not possible while wearing a mask). Wearing a mask is recommended outdoors when you can’t maintain a minimum physical distance of 2 meters (6 feet) from others. In-person performances and spectators are not permitted.
  • Performing arts – Amateur performing arts rehearsals can have up to 10 people outdoors without social distancing. Wearing a mask is recommended when you can’t maintain a minimum physical distance of 2 meters (6 feet) from others. In-person performances and spectators are not permitted.
  • Sports – Players, participants, and officials in organized sports (recreational, amateur, and professional) can practice and train with up to 10 people outdoors without social distancing. Wearing a mask is recommended when you can’t maintain a minimum physical distance of 2 meters (6 feet) from others. Games, competitions, and tournaments, and spectators are not permitted.
  • Wedding ceremonies and funerals can have up to 5 people plus the person conducting the ceremony indoors and up to 10 people plus the person conducting the ceremony outdoors with social distancing. Receptions and visitation are not permitted.
  • Gathering limit with social distancing and masks for mental health and addictions support groups – 10 people maximum.
  • Gathering limit with social distancing and masks for training required for safety and essential operation – 10 people maximum.

Local Flights and Border Services

Westjet, Air Canada, and PAL Airlines will be operating from the JA Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport. Air Canada will resume daily service to Toronto, O.N., starting June 26th. WestJet flights will be returning June 28th, with daily flights to Halifax, and PAL Airlines will also begin their daily flights starting June 28th.

Cruise Passengers

The Government of Canada is advising that you avoid all travel on cruise ships due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, until further notice. The Minister of Transport has announced two new Interim Orders, which prohibit pleasure craft in Canadian Arctic waters and cruise vessels in all Canadian waters until February 28, 2022. This means:

  • Adventure-seeking pleasure crafts are still prohibited from entering Arctic waters.
  • Passenger vessels carrying more than 12 people are still prohibited from entering Arctic coastal waters, including Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, and the Labrador Coast.
  • Cruise vessels carrying more than 100 people are still prohibited from operating in Canadian waters.

Essential passenger vessels, such as ferries and water taxis, should continue to follow local public health guidance and protocols, and follow mitigation measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and prevent future outbreaks. These could include: reducing the number of passengers, ensuring physical distancing, the wearing of masks, and enhanced cleaning and hygiene measures. To read the full press release, please click here.

Ferry Service:

The ferry service between Yarmouth and Bar Harbor, Maine will not operate during the 2021 season because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

With travel restrictions in place in both Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, customers are advised to review the latest provincial restrictions and government websites prior to travel. Currently, the MV Atlantic Vision and the MV Highlander and transporting customers from one province to another.

Food Services & Business Re-Opening

Personal and wellness services

  • Personal services businesses (like hair salons, barbershops, spas, nail salons, and body art establishments) can open by appointment (no walk-in service). Services that require a client to remove their mask are not permitted.

Restaurants and bars

  • Live music is permitted on outdoor patios at restaurants and liquor licensed (drinking) establishments (like bars, wineries, distillery tasting rooms, and craft taprooms) with 1 performer following the Guidelines for Musicians (PDF).
  • Outdoor patios at restaurants and liquor licensed (drinking) establishments (like bars, wineries, distillery tasting rooms, and craft taprooms) are open with a minimum physical distance of 2 meters (6 feet) between tables. There is a maximum of 10 people (close social bubble) per table. Wearing a mask is required (except when you’re eating or drinking). Restaurants and liquor licensed (drinking) establishments can only serve patio customers until 11 pm and must close by 12am. They can continue to offer take-out, delivery, and drive-thru service after 12 am.

Retail and shopping

  • All retail stores can operate at 25% of the store’s capacity (shoppers and staff) and need to follow the Health Protection Act Order, including public health measures like social distancing and masks.

In Accordance to The Province 

Employers and employees need to work together to maintain a healthy workplace. Employers and employees need to work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19, protect their customers, and keep each other safe. Employers need to make sure that employees are aware of employment rules and resources. Learn more about occupational health and safety guidance to help workplaces assess COVID-19 hazards and implement controls to reduce them.

You can find the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia/Restaurants Canada’s Covid-19 Rapid Recovery Guide here.

If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, Public Health contacts them directly. Public Health will work with the covid positive individual to identify all their close contacts. They will also conduct a risk assessment to determine if any of their close contacts need to self-isolate. Public Health will directly contact anyone who needs to self-isolate. In some cases, this means Public Health contacts the person’s employer if they were at work when they might have been contagious.

Contacts

Sector association plans (questions and plan submissions)
nseconomy@novascotia.ca

Occupational Health and Safety (safety questions)
1-800-952-2687
laesafetybranch@novascotia.ca

Labour Standards (your rights and obligations at work)
1-888-315-0110
labourstandards@novascotia.ca

Business Navigators (questions and business supports)
1-844-628-7347
busnavigation@novascotia.ca

Business Grants, Loans, and Assistance

Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) Guarantee – Available until June 30th, 2021

Businesses heavily impacted by COVID-19 can access guaranteed, low-interest loans of $25,000 to $1 million to cover operational cash flow needs. These loans are for small and medium-sized businesses that have seen their revenues decrease by 50% or more as a result of COVID-19. For more information please check here

Small Impact Business Grant Part 3 – Now Available 

This will provide grants of up to $5,000 for Nova Scotia businesses directly affected by the April 2021 restrictions. Eligible businesses will receive a one-time grant of 15 percent of their sales revenue for the month of April 2019 or February 2020, up to a maximum of $5,000. For businesses established after March 15, 2020, the grant amount will be calculated as 15 percent of the sales revenue for any month from April 2020 to March 2021. The applicant can choose the month. For more information please check here.

Tourism Accommodations Real Property Tax Rebate Program Part 2 – Now Available

Businesses applying for this program must meet the definition of a roofed accommodation as set out in the Tourist Accommodation Registration Act, be registered as a host under the act, have more than five rooms available to rent, not be in arrears of property taxes or property tax installment payments and have experienced a year-over-year revenue loss of at least 30 percent from a certain period over the last year. For more information please contact   or click here.

Small Business Real Property Tax Rebate Program – Now Available 

This program will be available to restaurants offering in-person dining service, bar or licensed drinking establishments, fitness, recreational, and leisure facilities including gyms, yoga studios, indoor play areas, arcades, climbing facilities, dance programs and music lessons, personal services including hair salons, barbershops, spas, nail salons, and body art establishments, independent retailers with a physical retail location and live performing arts. For more information please contact [email protected], or click here.

Our Visitor Information Centres

The Visitors Information Centres in Cheticamp, Ingonish, and Port Hasting will officially begin reopening. 

Port Hastings Visitor Information Centre: Now open daily, from 9:00 am until 4:30 pm, until October 12th, 2021.

Baddeck Visitor Information Centre: Open daily, from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm, until October 12th, 2021.

Chèticamp Visitor Information Centre: Open daily, from 9:00 am until 4:30 pm, until October 12th, 2021.

The Port of Sydney Visitor Information Centre: Open daily, from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm, until October 12th, 2021.

Ingonish Visitor Information Centre: Open daily, from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm, until October 12th, 2021.

National Travel Advisory

The Public Health Agency of Canada is continuing to advise travelers to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is advising extra caution if you must travel. Variants of the virus causing COVID-19 are under investigation in many countries, and it is expected that these variants will be reported in more countries as time goes on. The Public Health Agency of Canada is closely monitoring the situation and working with its international partners including the WHO to better understand these variants and their impacts.

The best way to protect yourself, your family, and those most at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 in our communities are to choose to stay in Canada. Contact your airline or tour operator to determine options for canceling or postponing your trip.

Departing Canada

The Government of Canada has issued a travel advisory asking Canadian citizens and permanent residents to avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice.

Travelers Returning to Canada

Travellers entering Canada must follow Government of Canada rules set out by the emergency orders under the Quarantine Act, including testing and quarantine requirements. Learn more: entering Canada by air and entering Canada by land.

All travelers are required to take a COVID-19 test on arrival and another on Day 8 of their quarantine. After starting quarantine at your point of entry into Canada, you can complete the rest of your quarantine in Nova Scotia once you receive your first negative test result and if you meet the criteria for essential travel. You need to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days in Canada, even with negative test results. Your quarantine period ends after 14 days if you receive your your Day-8 negative test result.

International travelers who complete their quarantine outside Nova Scotia before coming to Nova Scotia need to self-isolate for another 14 days when they arrive in Nova Scotia.

Everyone who is allowed to travel into Nova Scotia needs to apply to travel to Nova Scotia by completing the Safe Check-in Form before they travel to the province, even if they’re exempt from self-isolation. You also need to follow public health measures while you’re in Nova Scotia.

Public Health Agency of Canada online resources:

For a listing of current up-to-date information on the Coronavirus from PHAC please check here

Please call 811 if you have any symptoms or questions and do not hesitate to call 911 if there is an emergency. Nova Scotia Health number’s can be found here

You can sign up to receive updates from PHAC here.

You can call PHAC directly at the following toll-free number: 1-844-280-5020

You can check your symptoms through PHAC’s online assessment tool here

The latest PHAC travel advisories can be found here.

Non-Medical Face Masks/Coverings

Effective July 31, 2020, non-medical masks will be mandatory in the following indoor public places in Nova Scotia:

Public places include:

  • licensed indoor childcare settings, including children 2 or older, staff and visitors
  • retail businesses and shopping centers
  • personal services businesses like hair salons, barbershops, spas, nail salons, and body art establishments (except during services that require removing a mask)
  • restaurants and liquor licensed (drinking) establishments like bars, wineries, distillery tasting rooms, and craft taprooms, including the kitchen and preparatory space and outdoor serviced seating areas like patios (except for holes on the golf course that are licensed and when you’re eating or drinking)
  • places of worship and faith gatherings
  • places for cultural or entertainment activities and services (like movie theatres, theatre performances, dance recitals, festivals, and concerts)
  • places for sports and fitness, recreational or leisure activities, including fitness establishments like pools, gyms, yoga studios, climbing facilities, and indoor tennis facilities (except during an activity where a mask can’t be worn)
  • places for events (like conventions, conferences, and receptions)
  • outdoors when a physical distance of 2 meters (6 feet) can’t be consistently maintained, including playgrounds and parks
  • municipal and provincial government locations that offer services to the public
  • common areas of tourist accommodations (like lobbies, elevators, and hallways)
  • common areas of office buildings (like reception areas, elevators, and hallways), excluding private offices
  • common areas and public spaces on university and college campuses (like the library and student union building, but not classrooms, labs, offices, or residences)
  • train stations, bus stations, ferry terminals, and airports
  • common areas of multi-unit residential buildings (like apartment buildings and condos)
  • Casino Nova Scotia (Halifax and Sydney) and video lottery terminals (VLTs), except when you’re eating or drinking
  • public schools (pre-primary to grade 12)

Public transportation includes:

  • municipally operated public transit (buses and ferries)
  • school buses and vehicles operated by private schools
  • community transit vehicles (like community-operated buses)
  • commercial vehicles like motor coaches, shuttle vans, and vehicles providing charters and tours
  • taxis
  • vehicles serving residents and staff at long-term care facilities

 

EXTERNAL RESOURCES

Government of Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 Outbreak update:

Click Here

Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Outbreak update:

Click Here

Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Plan:

Click Here

Nova Scotia’s Mask Policy:

Click Here

Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 child custody protocol:

Click Here

Nova Scotia’s Specialized Worker Directive:

Click Here

Nova Scotia’s Rotational Worker Directive:

Click Here