Business Reopening and Recovery

Get guidance and clarity around reopening your business and resuming operations safely.

Resources to Operate Safely

As you look to reopen your business, we’re here to guide and support you in doing so safely. Navigating the new world of social distancing and changing regulations can be challenging. Following the Nova Scotia Health Protection Act Order and prioritizing the health and safety of both your employees and customers is essential to continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The following tools and resources are meant to help employers and employees return to work safely and successfully. These will be regularly updated as new information becomes available.

COVID-19 Prevention Plan Template

Developing a plan to reopen your business and don’t know where to start? We’ve created an easy-to-use template to you safely resume operations. We are also sharing our own COVID-19 Return to Office Safety and Operational Plan.

What you need to know to reopen safely

The Province of Nova Scotia announced that most businesses required to close can reopen. Find the latest information on their website.

The Province has also created an easy-to-follow COVID-19 prevention plan checklist for businesses to consider while developing their plan.

Non-medical masks are now mandatory on public transportation and in indoor public spaces. Your business may be need to make masks mandatory.

5 Things You Need to Know

  • The province's mandatory indoor non-medical mask mandate is in effect. Learn more about the requirements for wearing a mask and how to choose and take care of a mask.

    Learn More
  • Follow the Health Protection Act Order and watch for regular updates from the Province of Nova Scotia.

    Learn More
  • Businesses ordered to close need an approved plan. Public Health will approve plans and once approved lifting of restrictions will be considered.

  • Businesses not ordered to close can open but still need a workplace safety plan to ensure a safe working environment for staff and customers.

  • Travel within Atlantic Canada (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador) is allowed and continuing to support local businesses is encouraged.


Frequently asked questions

What public health protocols do I need to follow in order to reopen?

Your business must follow the rule for physical distancing (2 metres/6 feet) with the exception of these exempt employers. If you can’t maintain social distancing because of the physical size of your business, then the 10-person gathering limit applies. There are other industry-specific requirements identified in the Health Protection Act Order that you should check.

For additional information on safe practice and operating guidelines see the Province’s Workplace COVID-19 Prevention Plan Checklist.

Does the 10-person limit apply to my business?

If you are able to maintain social distancing requirements, your businesses is exempt from the 10-person gathering limit. Additionally, there is a list of employers exempt from both the gathering limit and social distancing requirements.

Read the Province’s COVID-19 Restriction Updates for industry specific requirements.

Do I need a workplace COVID-19 prevention plan?

Every business should develop a plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and comply with the Health Protection Act Order and public health directives to ensure the safety of employees and customers. See the Province’s Workplace COVID-19 Prevention Plan Checklist for more information on safe practice guidelines to help you develop a plan for your business.

Do I need to submit a plan to the Province?

You must submit a plan to the province if your business was ordered to close AND you do not have an industry association.

Other individual businesses are not required to submit reopening plans to the Province. However, industry/sector associations representing businesses and organizations that were required to close must develop and comply with a Workplace COVID-19 Prevention Plan for their sector.

Do I need to provide personal protection equipment (PPE) for employees?

This depends on the industry and nature of business you operate. Although most businesses are not required to provide PPE for employees, it is highly encouraged especially if your business deals with the public.

Where can I source PPE?

Download a list of PPE suppliers on the Nova Scotia Website. Additionally, Ignite Atlantic has a service to help businesses access PPE. Fill out the simple form and get connected to local suppliers > You can also download

Where can I find sector plans?

For the latest list of sector-specific plans to help protect workers and customers from COVID-19 visit the Province of Nova Scotia website.

Where are masks mandatory?

Non-medical masks are mandatory for employees, customers and the general public in the following indoor public places:

  • retail businesses
  • shopping centres
  • personal services businesses (hair and nail salons, spas, body art facilities)
  • restaurants and bars, except while you are eating or drinking
  • places of worship or faith gatherings
  • places for cultural or entertainment services or activities
  • places for sports and recreational activities such as a gym, pool, or indoor tennis facility, except during an activity where a mask cannot be worn
  • rental halls or rooms for special events
  • municipal or provincial government locations offering services to the public
  • common areas of tourist accommodations (lobbies, elevators and hallways)
  • common areas of office buildings such as lobbies, elevators and hallways, but not private offices
  • public areas of a university or college campus
  • train or bus stations, ferry terminals, and airports
Should I put up signs saying masks are mandatory?

Businesses, organizations and workplaces where masks are required under the public health order (or under their own policies) are encouraged to post a sign to let customers and clients know that masks are mandatory. Download a Face Mask Required sign here.

What spaces can a retail business consider private?

The mask requirement applies to the spaces the public has ready access to, not the private spaces. Business owners/employers can choose to set their own policies for private spaces.

Do office workers need to wear a mask?

In an office building, masks are required in the common areas such as the lobby, elevators and hallways. Once you enter a private business’s space, masks are not mandatory under the public health order. A private business may set its own policies for mask use.

Additional Resources

In this time of crisis, the Halifax business community is comimg together and collaborating to help one another. Below you’ll find resources for reopening from our Investors.

Halifax Chamber of Commerce has created a business guide toolkit to reopening with a 5-step approach to operating safely.

Worker's Compensation Board has created resources to help work safely through COVID-19 including industry-specific tools.

Business Development Bank of Canada has a webinar on planning for recovery with advice on how to restart your business in the wake of COVID-19.

EY Canada has released an article with a roadmap for managing the difficult transition back to the physical workplace.

Reach out to us

Minder Singh

Senior Account Executive, Commercialization, SmartBusiness Program


Need Support? Our team can help.

Thank you for reaching out. Minder will respond to your request as soon as possible.



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