Nova Scotia restricts access to Halifax area and Halifax retail limited to 25% capacity - Retail Council of Canada
Coronavirus | Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia restricts access to Halifax area and Halifax retail limited to 25% capacity

April 22, 2021

Due to rising COVID-19 variant cases, the Halifax area will be in lockdown for the next four weeks.  The lockdown begins April 23, 2021 at 8am AT.  People must avoid traveling in and out of the Halifax area.  Exceptions to this rule include commercial trucking and people who work in neighbouring communities.  See government press release.

  • All retail will remain open (adhering to COVID-19 operational plans) but stores will be limited to 25% of the building code (see details below).
  • Quick service restaurants will be limited to takeout, delivery and drive through service.
  • Cinemas, hair salons and spas will be closed.


  • The lockdown area includes all of Halifax Regional Municipality and the neighbouring communities of Hubbards, Milford, Lantz, Elmsdale, Enfield, South Uniacke, Ecum Secum and Trafalgar.  A map of the affected communities will be available here as of April 23, 2021.
  • Six families of schools within the Halifax area will move to at-home learning for the next two weeks.  Daycares remain open.
  • For schools that remain open, masks will be required for students in all grades.
  • Indoor sport and recreation, arts and culture facilities will be closed as are faith gatherings. 
  • The social gathering limit is five, both indoors and outdoors.
  • The fine for people who do not follow the gathering limits is $1,000 for each person at the illegal gathering.
  • This decision follows yesterday’s government decision to effectively lockdown the Nova Scotia border to anyone except those from Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island.
  • If the COVID-19 numbers improve, the government will consider loosening the restrictions before the end of four week period.

The Building Code requires the following:

Occupant load (staff and shoppers) for retail uses according to Table in the Nova Scotia Building Code is based on:

  • Basements and first storeys = 3.7 sq m/person (40 sq ft/person);
  • Second storeys having a principal entrance from a pedestrian thoroughfare or parking area(second floor of a mall) = 3.7 sq m/person (40 sq ft/person); and
  • All other storeys = 5.6 sq m/person (60 sq ft/person).

This applies to the retail area and not any offices, warehouse space etc.

Retail stores must restrict shoppers and staff to 25% or less of allowable capacity according to the guidelines issued today.