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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

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Tourism Industry Resource Page

Last updated: June 17, 2020.

The impact of COVID-19 has already had a significant loss in tourism revenues and we estimate that, with the Cape Breton Island tourism industry essentially shutting down from March 16 to the middle of June, the loss of direct tourism revenues will be in the vicinity of $95 million, plus spinoffs.

To assist the industry at this difficult time, we have compiled a list of resources and will continue to add updates to provide a portal that you may consult for the latest information.

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.

Nova Scotia has declared a state of emergency.
Gatherings will be limited to ten people without physical distancing. People in a group are not required to be exclusive but they are strongly encouraged to maintain a consistent group. This is especially important for Nova Scotians who are more at risk of complications from COVID-19. This change replaces the concept of family household bubbles.

Gatherings of up to 50 will now be allowed but people must observe physical distancing of two metres or six feet. The larger gathering limit of 50 applies to social events, faith gatherings, sports and physical activity, weddings and funerals, and arts and culture events like theatre performances, dance recitals, festivals and concerts.

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 outside the province will need to self-isolate for 14 days. There will be controls enforced at the borders of the province to restrict travel.

Please note: The Destination Cape Breton office reopened on Monday, June 8, 2020. 

Getting Ready to Reopen

As operators begin to reopen, 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

As of Thursday, March 19, restaurants were restricted to take-out and delivery orders only. All drinking establishments, winery, and distillery tasting rooms and craft taprooms were told to close (private liquor stores can operate, and craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries can still sell their products from their storefronts).

UPDATE: The province has released that these establishments will be able to reopen if they are ready and choose to do so on June 5, 2020.

Parks Canada

Starting on June 1, 2020, Parks Canada places on Cape Breton Island, and Canso will begin to offer limited access and services. What’s open on our Parks Canada sites starting June 1? Learn More

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.

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

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