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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Tourism Industry Resource Page

Here for
Cape Breton’s
Tourism Industry

Official Tourism Resource & Information for the Coronavirus Disease
(COVID-19) Pandemic

The Current Situation on Cape Breton Island

Last updated: September 18th, 2020

The global tourism industry is based on interactions with other people. This is especially so on Cape Breton Island where a spirit of hospitality is in our DNA. We love to welcome visitors, but public safety is paramount at this time. As a result, we want to provide you with factual and up-to-date information about the situation on Cape Breton Island.

To date, Nova Scotia has 85,288 negative test results, 1,086 positive COVID-19 cases, 65 deaths and 1 active COVID-19 case. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is actively monitoring the current outbreak and working with the World Health Organization along with other international partners.

The Current Situation

COVID-19 is an illness caused by a coronavirus. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses, similar to the common cold. Symptoms of human coronaviruses may be very mild or more serious such as: fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus.

On September 4th, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Robert Strang stated, “We have reviewed the symptoms that our confirmed cases were presenting with and are confident that having a narrower list will still allow us to identify people with COVID-19.” Dr. Strang urges Nova Scotians to visit to determine if you should call 811 for further assessment if in the past 48 hours you have had, or you are currently experiencing: fever or cough (new or worsening)

Or: Two or more of the following symptoms (new or worsening):

  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • headache
  • shortness of breath

Nova Scotia has redeclared a state of emergency.
Gatherings limits without social distancing can occur with up to 10 people as a group. It is suggested, but not mandatory, that you form an exclusive and constant group.

Indoor gathering limit with social distancing for social events, sports and physical activity, faith gatherings, weddings, funerals, arts and culture events, festivals and special events that are run by a recognized business or organization can host 50% of the venues capacity up to 200 guests.

Outdoor gathering limit with social distancing for social events, sports and physical activity, faith gatherings, weddings, funerals, arts and culture events, festivals and special events that are run by a recognized business or organization can host 250 people maximum outdoors. Gathering limits  of the same kind, held indoors or outdoors with social distancing, that is not run by a recognized business or organization (example: family barbecue) can host 50 people maximum.

Gathering limit with social distancing for sports and physical activity that are not run by a recognized business or organization – 50 people maximum indoors and outdoors (participants can have incidental close contact with each other if it’s infrequent, brief and can’t be avoided)

As of August 26th, Premier Stephen McNeil, announced that residents of long-term care homes are now able to leave for medical appointments if accompanied by a family member. The number of people a resident can identify to visit has been lifted. McNeil, also stated that before and after school programs are allowed to have groups of 15 children without enforcing the 2 meter social distancing rule.

Police are authorized to enforce orders under the Health Protection Act related to self-isolation and social distancing, and can issue summary offence tickets for people who are not adhering to those orders. Anyone who has travelled from outside the “Atlantic Bubble” will need to self-isolate for 14 days. There will be controls enforced at the borders of the province to restrict travel.

Reopening & Adjustments

As operators begin to reopen and adjust their operations, we would like to provide some resources with guidelines that may help.

Destination Cape Breton hosted our Reopening Strategy Webinar on June 11, 2020, which included some next steps for tourism operators, an overview of our Reopening strategy and some Q&A.  If you were unable to attend the webinar, please feel free to review it at the link below.


Update Your Listings

We recommend updating your business, package/experience, and event listings on (which feeds to to communicate any operational changes related to COVID-19, to help visitors with their trip planning.  For more information click here.

You should update your own website and social channels as well.

How is this affecting the Cape Breton Island Tourism Industry

Food Services

On June 5th, 2020, the Government of Nova Scotia announced that most businesses that were required to close under the public health order can reopen. Businesses must follow protocols in the plan that is tailored to their sector. This includes following public health protocols to ensure physical distancing, increased cleaning and other protective measures for staff and customers.

The following can open if they are ready and choose to do so:

  • restaurants for dine-in, as well as takeout and delivery
  • bars, wineries, distilleries and taprooms
  • lounges are not permitted to reopen at this time 
  • personal services, such as hair salons, barber shops, spas, nail salons and body art establishments
  • fitness facilities, such as gyms, yoga studios and climbing facilities 
  • veterinarians

Other health providers can also reopen on June 5, provided they follow protocols in their colleges’ and associations’ plans, as approved by public health. These include:

  • dentistry and other self-regulated health professions such as optometry, chiropractic and physiotherapy
  • unregulated health professions such as massage therapy, podiatry and naturopathy

If you are a Cape Breton Island resident, view a full list of take-out and home delivery options below. 

Parks Canada

As of July 13th, National Historic Sites have been able to reopen with limited visitor services. Locations may reduce the number of visitors allowed to enter at one time to ensure physical distancing. Please note that some buildings and lounging areas inside the historic sites will remain closed during this time.

Starting on June 22, Parks will gradually reopen camping facilities starting with select self-registration camping areas with limited capacity. Additional camping will reopen in phases, at reduced occupancy, throughout June and July. Visitors are required to have a reservation in order to camp at a Parks Canada place. Parks Canada recognizes being in nature provides important physical and mental health benefits. Going outdoors, including camping overnight, is a great way to maintain health and wellness, so long as everyone follows physical distancing practices.

Visitors should note that there are limited washroom facilities available in select areas.  For more information on camping this season, please click here to learn more.

Group activities and public events are suspended until further notice. For current pass holders, Parks Canada will automatically extend the end date of Discovery Passes for the full duration of the suspended period.

To learn more about visiting Parks Canada locations during COVID-19 click here or see the FAQ link below.

Events and Conferences

We don’t know the full impact this outbreak will have on the 2020 tourism season on the Island, but it has already had a significant effect:

  • The Team Japan training camp that was to take place in Port Hawkesbury in advance of the IIHF Women’s World Cup has been postponed to 2021;
  • Science Atlantic conferences and Psychology of Language Learning conference at Cape Breton University have been cancelled;
  • The Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities has cancelled it’s spring conference which was scheduled for May in Sydney;
  • The cruise season has been delayed until October 31, 2020;
  • The Vince Ryan Memorial Hockey Tournament and the Wallace Bernard Memorial Native Youth Hockey Tournament have been cancelled;
  • The Canadian National Darts Championships, both Youth and Adults, have been cancelled;
  • The Cabot Trail Relay has been cancelled for the first time in history;
  • Granville Green Concert Series has been cancelled for this year;
  • Senior Little League Canadian Championships have been cancelled;
  • National Youth Track and Field Championships have been cancelled;
  • Marine Atlantic Argentia-North Sydney route has been cancelled for the summer season;
  • Celtic Colours International Festival will be held online only for 2020; and
  • Bookings are being effected.

Please Note: On August 26th, Premier Stephen McNeil stated that the government is working with four popular venues, including Centre 200, on opportunities to host larger audiences than our current gathering limits. These facilities will be able to host 200 people for indoor events and 250 people for outdoor events, but only if they follow strict criteria and have an approved and detailed action plan.

There is Support for the Tourism Industry

There have been a number of programs established by all levels of government to assist  Tourism businesses during these unprecedented times.

Destination Cape Breton’s Recovery Plans

We’ve been working to ensure that when the time is right we are ready to promote and encourage visitors to our beautiful island.

On May 1st we provided an update that included:

  • Industry Communication
  • Advocacy for the Industry
  • Contingency Planning, and
  • Short-Term Initiatives

Tourism & COVID-19 News

Sept 17th, 2020
No New Cases of COVID-19

Sept 16th, 2020
Nova Scotians and Maritimers Encouraged to Keep Rediscovering Nova Scotia This Fall

Sept 14th, 2020
No New Cases of COVID-19

Sept 12th, 2020
No New Cases of COVID-19

Sept 11th, 2020
Easing of Self-Isolation Requirements for Out-of-Province Rotational Workers

Sept 10th, 2020
No New Cases of COVID-19

Sept 8th, 2020
No New Cases of COVID-19

Sept 8th, 2020
Government Eases Restrictions, Allows Designated Caregivers for Long-Term Care Residents

Sept 7th, 2020
One New Case of COVID-19

Sept 6th, 2020
No New Cases of COVID-19

Sept 4th, 2020
No New Cases of COVID-19, State of Emergency Renewed, Symptoms for Testing Updated

Sept 3rd, 2020
No New Cases of COVID-19

Aug 31st, 2020
One New Case of COVID-19

Aug 28th, 2020
Two New Cases of COVID-19

Aug 26th, 2020
Province Further Eases Restrictions in Long-Term Care, Allows Some Large Gatherings, Sets Group Size for Before- and After-School Programs

Aug 26th, 2020
One New Case of COVID-19

Aug 24th, 2020
New Contest Encourages Nova Scotians to Explore Their Province

Aug 23rd, 2020
Nova Scotia Reports One More Death, Two New Case of COVID-19

Aug 22nd, 2020
One New Case of COVID-19

Aug 21st, 2020
No New Cases of COVID-19, State of Emergency Renewed

Aug 21st, 2020
One New Case of COVID-19

Aug 19th, 2020
One New Case of COVID-19

Aug 18th, 2020
No New Cases of COVID-19

Aug 17th, 2020
One New Case of COVID-19

Aug 15th, 2020
Two New Cases of COVID-19

Aug 14th, 2020
One New Case of COVID-19

Aug 8th, 2020
No New Cases of COVID-19, State of Emergency Renewed

Aug 2nd, 2020
Nova Scotia Health advising of potential COVID-19 exposure on July 12 flight from Toronto to Halifax

Aug 2nd, 2020
Two New Cases of COVID-19

July 31st, 2020
Two New Cases of COVID-19

July 29th, 2020
Nova Scotia Reports One More Death, No New Cases of COVID-19

July 24th, 2020
Province Announces Mandatory Masks in Indoor Public Places

July 24th, 2020
No New Cases of COVID-19, State of Emergency Renewed

July 17th, 2020
Province Announces Mandatory Masks on Public Transportation and Easing of Visitor Restrictions in Long-Term Care Homes

July 10th, 2020
No New Cases of COVID-19, State of Emergency Renewed

July 10th, 2020
Tourism Nova Scotia Visitor Information Centres Now Open

July 7th, 2020
Border Tracking Form for Non-Bubble Travellers to Nova Scotia Now Online

July 3rd, 2020
Provincial Campgrounds Open to Atlantic Provinces, More Campsites

July 2nd, 2020
Atlantic Bubble Border Crossing

June 30, 2020
One New Case of COVID-19

June 26, 2020
Further Lifting of Restrictions, New Gathering Limits

June 22nd, 2020
Nova Scotia Reports One Death, No New or Active Cases of COVID-19

June 12, 2020
Feds mandating temperature checks at airports, extending military deployments
Membertou reopening businesses

June 2, 2020
No new cases identified in Nova Scotia on Tuesday

June 1, 2020
Cities to be sent $2.2 billion in infrastructure funds early to help COVID-19 recovery
10,000 Canadians to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies in hopes of understanding immunity

May 31, 2020
Gaelic College in St. Ann’s forced to reduce summer offerings
Cape Breton Miners’ Museum underground simulator not ready

May 29, 2020
Large cruise ships banned from Canadian waters until October 31, 2020
Nova Scotia to allow 10-person gatherings as no new cases announced on Friday
‘A Beautiful Thing’: Gift card campaign to benefit essential workers

May 28, 2020
Parks Canada to ease restrictions at Cape Breton sites beginning Monday
Nova Scotia Health Authority reintroducing programs impacted by pandemic
Coach Atlantic Maritime Bus projects $30 million in lost revenue because of COVID-19
CBRM extends deadline for grant applications

May 27, 2020
Most NS businesses forced to close due to COVID-19 can reopen June 5
Prime Minister Trudeau says jobs available for young people, implores employers to re-hire
The Province invests $230 Million to stimulate the economy and create jobs

May 26, 2020
Prime Minister plans to take COVID-19 antibody test once available
Cape Breton Royal Canadian Legion branches turn to headquarters for help during COVID-19
Parliament can’t fully resume without virtual voting in place, says Trudeau 

May 25, 2020
Trudeau pushing for 10 days of paid sick leave from provinces amid coronavirus
Antibody treatment for COVID-19 ready for clinical trials, says Toronto scientist
Airlines searching for ways to get Canadians traveling again

May 24, 2020
Nova Scotia reports 1 new COVID-19 case; 973 people recovered
Sydney airport hoping help is in the air as the impact from COVID-19 hits hard

May 22, 2020
Feds readying to recommend contact tracing app
Cape Breton University professor working on technology that could lead to quicker COVID-19 testing

May 21, 2020
Celtic Colours International Festival to be held online this year 
Trudeau offering provinces, territories help to ‘scale-up’ testing, contact tracing
‘The second wave will come’ and experts say Canada is not prepared
May 20, 2020
Canada’s Cheif Public Health Officer says it is now recommended that Canadians wear facemasks
Feds to announce additional pandemic funding for off-reserve Indigenous People
Maritime provinces with few COVID-19 cases float travel bubble but public health experts urge caution

May 19, 2020
Canada-US border to remain closed to non-essential travel for another month, Prime Minister says it’s the ‘right thing’
Amid COVID-19 uncertainty, Yarmouth ferry service slated to resume July 15

May 18, 2020
Mabou pub owner donates $15,000 to Inverness hospital emergency department
More than 50 percent of Canada’s COVID-19 cases have recovered