State of Emergency Update

Yesterday (Sunday, March 22nd), the Premier declared a provincial State of Emergency to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

Nova Scotians are being directed to observe social distancing of two metres (six feet). Nova Scotia borders will tighten to travellers and all entry points (land, sea, air) will be closely managed starting today (Monday, March 23rd). Nova Scotians should not leave the province and only leave home for essential items and services. Anyone entering the province will be stopped, questioned and told to self-isolate for 14 days.

All health care workers including physicians who are in good health are exempt from the cross-border travel restriction, as are Nova Scotians entering or exiting the province for specialized medical treatment.

The providers who are exempt from the social distancing requirement of two metres and the gathering limit of no more than five people when in the workplace include:

  • Nova Scotia Health Authority employees
  • IWK Health Centre employees
  • Physicians and nurse practitioners
  • DHW-funded home support agencies and VON
  • Nursing homes
  • Residential care facilities

Additionally, under the State of Emergency:

  • Provincial parks, beaches and tourist attractions are closed. Provincial trails will remain open for exercise. Gathering limits and social distancing guidelines must be followed
  • Police will be authorized to enforce orders under the Health Protection Act. If Nova Scotians and businesses do not practice social distancing and self-isolation, they will face fines of $1,000 for individuals and $7,500 for businesses. Multiple fines can be given each day an individual or business fails to comply. Police can also enforce offences under the Emergency Management Act. For example, fines for charging higher than fair market prices for goods and services
  • There are several groups who are essential and exempt from gathering limits. They include but are not limited to grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies. If possible, one person per family should be designated to do these tasks. Other groups include construction sites, health-care services, community services (e.g. child protection), criminal justice services and law enforcement

New orders in effect under the Health Protection Act include:

  • Effective immediately, social gatherings of more than five people are prohibited
  • Any workplace or business that is not deemed essential can remain open as long as a two-metre or six-foot distance can be maintained. Workspaces must also be cleaned and disinfected at a minimum of twice daily or as required and employees follow proper hygiene
  • Dentists can no longer practice dentistry in their offices unless they deem it necessary to perform an emergency dental procedure in the best interest of the patient’s health.

If you have any questions or concerns about what the State of Emergency means for you and your workplace, please contact the NSGEU by calling 902-424-4063 (toll-free 1-877-556-7438) or email

We appreciate your professionalism and patience as we navigate this difficult situation together.

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