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Nova Scotia travel restrictions: Where you can go in October 2021

Find out what you can do and where you can go in Nova Scotia right now.

Currently, those outside of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador can only enter Nova Scotia for essential reasons. This goes hand-in-hand with a 14-day self-isolation period upon your entry.

Fortunately, there are several attractions, parks and beaches that are open for locals right now allowing you and your nearest and dearest to get out and about while still staying safe and social distancing.

Here’s what you need to know to head out and explore Nova Scotia right now including the territory’s travel restrictions for accommodation, transportation and attractions.

Accommodation in Nova Scotia

While recreational stays are allowed, Nova Scotians are encouraged to avoid non-essential travel. Members of a household can travel together while maintaining a physical distance of two metres with others.

Staying with family or friends

Households can have up to 10 visitors to their home in addition to the people who live there.

Staying at hotels

Hotels and motels in Nova Scotia are open with restrictions in place. Face coverings are mandatory in most indoor public places, including common areas such as lobbies, elevators, restaurants, bars and fitness centres.

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Staying in a holiday home

You are encouraged to only travel with members of your household when renting a short stay such as an Airbnb property or holiday home. Airbnb also currently has a worldwide limit of 16 guests for rentals in place.

Staying at hostels

Hostels are allowed to be open but many are currently closed for the season. You can expect enhanced hygiene and safety measures during your stay which may include increased contactless check-in options, reduced capacity in shared dorms and sanitization stations for guests.

Camping and caravanning

Many of Nova Scotia’s parks and campgrounds are permitted to reopen for recreational activities and camping. This includes popular sites such as Petit Bois Yurts, Iron Mountain and Norse Cove. Campsite bookings are open to Nova Scotia residents only and reservations are required.

Nova Scotia Provincial Parks are using an auto check-in system for campers to eliminate the need for campers to stop at the park office. Overflow sites, double sites, group sites and laundry facilities will be closed.

National park reservations will be open in April (instead of January as usual) for trips from May 2021 to March 2022 with a limited number of winter camping sites currently open.

Tourist attractions in Nova Scotia

Most tourist attractions are currently open in Nova Scotia but you are likely to encounter some new restrictions, reduced hours and limited services when you visit.

A face covering is encouraged, especially in indoor spaces and where physical distancing is not possible. Capacity limits could mean timed entry tickets and a one-way flow through enclosed spaces.

Popular attractions that are currently open are:

  • Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
  • Canadian Museum of Immigration
  • Casino Nova Scotia
  • Discovery Centre
  • Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site
  • Peggy's Cove
  • Halifax Citadel National Historic Site
  • Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

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    National parks

    Both of Nova Scotia’s national parks are open to the public. Visitors can access some trails, day-use areas and green spaces while in-person interpretation, group activities and events are suspended and some facilities may not be available.

    The following national parks are currently open:

    • Cape Breton Highlands National Park
    • Kejimkujik National Park

    Beaches and local parks

    Most provincial and municipal parks, trails, beaches and playgrounds are open but gathering limits and social distancing guidelines must be followed at all times. Many trails are only wide enough to travel single file, so be ready to step aside to let others pass by with plenty of space.

    The following beaches and parks are currently open:

    • Arisaig Provincial Park
    • Carters Beach
    • Crystal Crescent Beach
    • Martinique Beach

    • Melmerby Beach
    • Point Pleasant Park
    • Summerville Beach Provincial Park
    • Victoria Park

    Getting to and from your holiday

    Driving within Nova Scotia

    There are no restrictions on where you can drive around Nova Scotia. When travelling around with your household, you can stay together outdoors without social distancing.

    Flights within Nova Scotia

    Air travel around Nova Scotia is technically allowed but flights to and from Sydney are currently suspended. These are due to restart from June 2021 by WestJet and Air Canada.

    Flights to Nova Scotia

    While flights are currently operating, only essential travel to Nova Scotia is currently allowed and travellers must self-isolate for 14-days on arrival. One exception to this is if you have already completed your self-isolation and arrive from New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island.

    Coach, bus and rail services

    While many services are operating as usual, you will likely notice a change in the way you get around. A face covering is mandatory for all travel and most companies are enforcing physical distancing measures while boarding and on board.

    • Kings Transit Authority. Operating as usual.
    • Maritime Bus. Operating as usual.
    • VIA Rail. Service between Halifax and Montréal has been suspended until 15 May 2021.

    Ferry services

    As with other forms of transport around Nova Scotia, passengers must wear a face covering while on board and physical distancing should be practiced. Terminals will be operating with limited occupancy and some services such as restaurants, snack bars and retail shops may be suspended.

    • Country Harbour Ferry. Out of service until May 2021.
    • Maine ferry. Service suspended for the 2021 season.
    • New Brunswick ferry. Operating as usual.
    • Newfoundland ferry. Operating as usual.

    • Petit Passage ferry. Operating as usual.
    • Prince Edward Island ferry. Due to commence Spring 2021.
    • Tancook Island ferry. Operating as usual.

    Which territories or provinces can I travel to?

    The official government advice is to avoid non-essential travel outside Nova Scotia until further notice. If you do need to travel, the destination you travel to may have different public health measures and rules in place which you will need to follow.

    • Alberta. Non-essential should be avoided.
    • British Columbia. Non-essential travel should be avoided, including for vacation purposes and to visit friends or family outside of your household or core bubble.
    • Manitoba. Travellers entering Manitoba must self-isolate for 14 days.
    • New Brunswick. Screening of travellers may occur at entry points and you must self-isolate for 14 days.
    • Newfoundland and Labrador. Non-residents are not permitted unless certain extenuating circumstances are met. Self-isolation for 14 days upon arrival is required.
    • Northwest Territories. Visitors are not allowed to travel to the Northwest Territories and residents must self-isolate for 14 days.
    • Nunavut. Residents must undergo a mandatory 14-day isolation period in either Edmonton, Ottawa, Winnipeg or Yellowknife before returning.
    • Ontario. Only essential travel is recommended and a 14-day self-isolation period is advised.
    • Prince Edward Island. Non-residents must apply in advance to enter and are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
    • Quebec. Travel is limited to a select few instances including returning residents and not for vacation purposes.
    • Saskatchewan. Travellers are requested to self-monitor for 14 days and to observe all public health measures, including physical distancing.
    • Yukon. All visitors have to self-isolate for 14 days in Whitehorse and complete a declaration.

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    Frequently asked questions about travelling in Nova Scotia during COVID-19

    How far can I travel from home?

    You can travel around the province but are advised to avoid non-essential travel outside of Nova Scotia until further notice.

    Are there any regional travel restrictions?

    There are currently no restrictions on travel within Nova Scotia.

    Can I travel to Nova Scotia if I live in another territory or province?

    Travellers coming from New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island are not required to isolate in Nova Scotia. These are the essential travel exceptions for those wanting to visit Nova Scotia outside of Prince Edward Island or Newfoundland and Labrador.

    • If your work is in Nova Scotia
    • You’re a federally approved temporary foreign worker
    • You have an in-person legal proceeding within Nova Scotia
    • Tertiary students coming for study
    • Tertiary students returning to their family home (also applies to parents who have gone to bring their children home)
    • New residents of Nova Scotia or those who have a permanent new address
    • You’re travelling for child custody reasons
    • You fall under the exempt traveller protocol
    • You’re going between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for work, school or child care (under the correct conditions)

    Do I need to limit the number of people I travel with?

    Social distancing isn’t necessary between members of your household. The gathering limit for close social groups is up to 10 people and you should try to keep this group consistent.

    Do I need to pre-book to visit dining venues and attractions?

    Some attractions require you to purchase advance tickets online and it’s a good idea to make a reservation for dining venues to avoid long wait times.

    Will I need to self-isolate or go into quarantine when I return from my trip?

    Travellers must self-isolate for 14 days when they arrive, or for the duration of their stay if it’s less than 14 days. If you’re staying with others, everyone in your household must self-isolate as well.

    One exception is if you’re returning from New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island or if you have already self-isolated in New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island, then you may enter Nova Scotia without self-isolating again.

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