COVID-19 Info: Health Protection Order helps clarify gathering limits

Tuesday, March 24

Clarification: NS Construction sites among services exempt from 5-person limit 

Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang issued a Health Protection Act Order on Monday, March 23, 2020, that helps to clarify the government’s measures and limits on gatherings.

Effective March 23, 2020, at 6:00 a.m., all persons residing in or present in the Province of Nova Scotia who:

3.1. enter Nova Scotia; or

3.2. are identified as a close contact of a person who has or has been diagnosed with COVID-19; or

3.3. are identified as a person diagnosed with COVID-19; or

3.4. have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting the results of their test


(a.) Remain in self-quarantine or self- isolation, as the case may be, for: (i) the period commencing on the day you enter Nova Scotia if you have crossed the border into Nova Scotia as per 3.1, or (ii) the first day of close contact, or first day of symptoms, testing, or diagnosis as per 3.2, 3.3 and 3.4.

and continuing thereafter for 14 consecutive calendar days or as directed by a medical officer of health

At this time, the construction sector is still considered an essential service and remains exempt from self-isolation requirements under clause 2. Regardless of exemptions, “ALL persons present and residing in Nova Scotia must maintain social distancing of two metres or six feet and keep social gatherings to 5 persons or less.”

We’ve included some key sections related to exemptions below, but those looking to read the full order can click here.

2. Workers who are essential to the movement of people and goods are exempt from the requirement to self-isolate or self-quarantine set out in clause 3.1.

3. Workers exempt under clause 2 must practice social distancing of two metres or six feet to the best of their ability, closely self-monitor, and must self-isolate or self-quarantine should they exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms (onset of cough, fever, or shortness of breath).

4. All persons present and residing in Nova Scotia must maintain social distancing of two metres or six feet and keep social gatherings to 5 persons or less.

5. Subject to specific closures or limitations directed elsewhere in this Order, all not-for-profit and for-profit businesses and organizations operating or carrying on business in 5 Nova Scotia may continue to operate but must implement social distancing of two metres or six feet.

7. For greater clarity, the 5-person rule referred to in Clause 6 does not apply to:

(a.) businesses and organizations who can maintain social distancing requirements such as grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, construction sites, financial institutions, and agri-food and fish plants. 

(b.) Canadian Blood Services blood collection clinics.

On 22 March, the Province of Nova Scotia declared a state of emergency to help contain the spread of COVID-19. The state of emergency will be in effect for 14 days and may be renewed. The emergency order is valid until noon on 5 April 2020.

clarify gathering limits