Coronavirus | New Brunswick | Newfoundland and Labrador | Nova Scotia | Store Operations

Changes announced to Atlantic Canada’s COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine priority announced

February 26, 2021

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Newfoundland and Labrador loosens restrictions for most of province and releases vaccination plan

Member Update/Impact

COVID-19 restrictions

Beginning February 27, 2021, most of the province will move to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 for at least the next two weeks.  This will allow retailers (including those in shopping malls) to open at 50% capacity.  Personal service establishments, including spas and hair salons can open in accordance with guidelines. Cinemas are closed and restaurants remain closed for in-person dining.

COVID-19 cases are still quite high in the St. John’s area and thus, the Avalon region will remain at Alert Level 5.

Vaccination plan

The government released its vaccination plan. 

Of note to retailers that were deemed ‘essential’ (allowed to welcome in-store customers) during Alert Level 5: Frontline workers who have had direct contact with the public and can / could not work from home during Alert Level 5 will be able to be vaccinated in Phase 2 of the vaccination process.  Phase 2 will take place from April – June 2021. People in Phase 2 priority groups will be able to pre-register in mid-March 2021. Once a person is pre-registered, they will be contacted to book a vaccine appointment.

Phase 3 will take place between July and September 2021 and will include all remaining groups to be vaccinated.  There may be opportunities for vaccine clinics to be held in partnership with large businesses.  Details to be confirmed.

Background Information

COVID-19 restrictions

Information on the Alert Levels can be found here.

Vaccination plan

See press release

See detailed Immunization Plan.

Next Steps

RCC will continue advocating for all frontline retail workers to be vaccinated during Phase 2.


Nova Scotia tightens COVID-19 restrictions in Halifax area/Earlier closure for restaurants

Member Update/Impact

Beginning at 8 a.m. on February 27, 2021 COVID-19 restrictions will be tightened for the urban areas of Halifax Regional Municipality (including Porters Lake and Hubbards), as well as the Hants County communities of Enfield, Elmsdale and Mount Uniacke.  These restrictions will last until at least midnight on March 27, 2021.   These restrictions are mainly focused on community gatherings / movement of people and thus, retailers (including those in shopping malls) can continue to operate at 75% of their building code capacity.  However, restaurants must stop service by 9 p.m. and close by 10 p.m. 

Background Information

Additional information can be found in the government press release.

Nova Scotians are also being asked to avoid all non-essential travel within the province and elsewhere, especially to and from the restricted areas listed above.


New Brunswick clarifies COVID-19 testing of commercial truck drivers and announces plan to move to Yellow in COVID-19 protocols

Member Update/Impact

COVID-19 testing of commercial truck drivers: Following substantial backlash from the trucking industry, the New Brunswick government has suspended indefinitely, its proposed plan to require weekly COVID-19 tests for commercial truckers who either started or completed their journey in New Brunswick.  Instead, these truck drivers will be encouraged to get tested weekly for COVID-19. Weekly testing for these groups is not currently enforced, as Public Health is working to ensure testing is more easily available. It is anticipated that testing at additional pharmacies will be in place in the coming weeks, and the public will be notified at that time. Some groups are exempt from mandatory weekly testing and a list of testing and isolation requirements are available online.

This is good news for retailers as some commercial truck drivers were threatening to stop delivering products into the province, if this weekly testing was mandated.

Plan to move entire province to yellow in COVID-19 protocols: Public Health has recommended that if COVID-19 cases continue to diminish, the entire province could be moved to the Yellow level in the COVID-19 protocols by Monday, March 8, 2021.  This would be great news for businesses as it would be the most significant loosening of restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Further details can be found in the government’s press release. For more information contact Jim Cormier, Atlantic Director at jcormier@retailcouncil.org or 902-422-4144.

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