Provincial COVID-19 Update - December 11, 2020

Nova Scotia public school students will have an extended holiday break out of an abundance of caution. The last day of classes will be Dec. 18 and classes resume Jan. 11.

School-based staff will be returning to schools on Jan. 4 for five days of professional learning. Principals, teachers, support staff, specialists and early childhood educators will be in school learning in areas such as inclusive education, social emotional learning and technology.

Also, The province is renewing the state of emergency to protect the health and safety of Nova Scotians and ensure safety measures and other important actions can continue. The order will take effect at noon Sunday, Dec. 13 and extend to noon Sunday, Dec. 27, unless government terminates or extends it.

Changes to Self Isolation Regulations - November 9, 2020

As November 9, 2020, self-isolation guidelines have changed in Nova Scotia.

If you enter Nova Scotia from outside of Atlantic Canada for non-essential purposes, you must self-isolate alone (or with those you have travelled with) for 14-days. Non-essential travel means travel not related to an essential job (like rotational workers or specialized workers) or compassionate exceptions like attending a family member’s funeral.

If your only option is to stay with someone else, that means everyone living in that household must self-isolate. Self-isolation means staying at home and avoiding contact with other people to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

During the 14-day self-isolation you and others in the home cannot go to work, school, the grocery store, or go for a walk. Everyone must stay on their property for the full 14-day self-isolation period.

This change does not impact those who are exempt from the self-isolation requirement under the Order, granted an exception from the self-isolation requirement, or have a modified self-isolation including rotational workers, specialized workers, or anyone granted a compassionate exception.

Emergency Support for Arts and Culture Organizations

This program provides immediate funding to arts and cultural organizations in Nova Scotia that have been affected by COVID-19. The funding helps them stay in operation so they can maintain or restart activity under current public health guidelines. The application deadline is 7 December 2020.


To apply for Emergency Support for Arts and Culture Organizations, your organization must be either:

  • a current Culture and Heritage Development or Arts Nova Scotia operating client
  • a registered not-for-profit cultural or arts organization that has received project funding from the Culture and Heritage Development Division or Arts Nova Scotia in the past 3 years (2017-2020)

You can apply for up to $75,000.

Financial assistance will be considered for plans that:

  • maintain the organization’s operations
  • adapt spaces to meet public health guidelines
  • generate activity under current public health guidelines

The amount of funding will be based on the organization’s annual budget and its plan for recovering from the effects of COVID-19, as well as the program’s available budget.

Eligible expenses

Funding from this program is to cover operational cash flow up to 31 March 2021.

The program doesn’t cover:

  • debts from before the COVID-19 pandemic
  • non-recoverable losses because of COVID-19
  • operating costs beyond 31 March 2021
  • building or capital expenses

How to apply

Complete the application form (PDF 486 kB) and required supporting documents.
Submit your application by email by 7 December 2020.

Before you start

When you apply, you need to include:

  • a proposal explaining how you’ll use the funding, and how you’ll follow and adapt to public health guidelines
  • a balance sheet showing assets, liabilities and equity as of 2 November 2020
  • an income statement signed by an authorized representative
  • projected cash flow for the period ending 31 March 2021


Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage


Susan Jeffries:

Briony Carros:

Stacey Oxner:

Financial Help and Social Supports

Domestic abuse support

If you’re experiencing domestic abuse, you’re not alone. Support, guidance and shelter are available throughout the province.

If you’re in immediate danger, call 911.

If you need help or information about emergency shelter, safety planning and available resources, call the 24-hour toll-free line at 1-855-225-0220. You can also find community resources at 211 Nova Scotia (or call 211).

Federal support for individuals

The Government of Canada has funding and resources available for individuals, including the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).


If you need non-emergency, non-medical help, call 211 or visit 211 is a toll-free helpline that connects you to community and social services in your area. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (in over 140 languages).

If you're accepting help from someone you don't know, remember to protect your own privacy and safety and follow these tips.

Income assistance support

There are extended hours for the toll-free line for income assistance supports, including weekends. If you have questions about eligibility for income assistance, call:

Hours of operation Phone number

Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Toll-free: 1-877-424-1177
Monday to Friday 4:30 pm to 7 pm
Saturday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Toll-free: 1-833-722-1417

Mental health and wellbeing

A new virus like COVID-19 can create fear and anxiety. There are ways to manage your symptoms and get help if you need it. Learn more: mental health and wellbeing support.

Pharmacare changes

The Government of Nova Scotia is covering additional dispensing fees for Pharmacare (drug coverage) program prescription refills. This covers the extra fees for prescriptions that are usually filled for longer periods and are now only being filled for 30 days at a time. Government is also waiving the $5.00 prescription co-pay for people in the Income Assistance Program and the Low Income Pharmacare for Children Program.

Red Cross Friendly Calls Program

The Friendly Calls Program provides pre-scheduled calls to individuals who are feeling isolated due to the pandemic. Callers are trained in a variety of areas, including psychological first aid. Callers can also help connect you with other support services available in your community.

Anyone 19 or older can register for the program by calling 1-833-729-0144, Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Red Cross will arrange to call you at a mutually agreed time, in English or French.

Student loan payments suspended

Nova Scotia Student Loan payments are suspended until 30 September 2020. You don't need to make any payments, and your loans won't accrue interest. The suspension is automatic – you don't need to apply.

Support for businesses

Agriculture Response Program

The COVID-19 Agriculture Response Program helps Nova Scotia's agriculture industry mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry's competitiveness, productivity and profitability.

Business support website

Business support during COVID-19 provides education, training and guidance for small businesses. Community innovation leads at NSCC help connect businesses with support programs available from post-secondary institutions and other regional organizations.

Federal support for businesses

The Government of Canada has funding and resources available for businesses and industries.

Small Business Loan Guarantee Program

The Small Business Loan Guarantee Program is available for qualifying businesses.

Provincial State of Emergency

On 22 March 2020, the Government of Nova Scotia declared a provincial state of emergency to help contain the spread of COVID-19. The state of emergency has been extended until noon on 6 September 2020.

Nova Scotia’s Back to School Plan

Nova Scotia’s Back to School Plan will be updated to mandate non-medical mask use for students in Grades 4 to 12 while in school.

All students in Grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear a mask inside schools, except if they are seated at their desks while two metres apart and facing in the same direction. They must also be worn in hallways and other common areas if a two-metre distance can’t be maintained.

Students who travel by bus will now need to wear their mask until they get off the bus and can clean their hands and safely store their mask.
Additional measures and information for families include:

✅ A school-by-school ventilation assessment will take place to ensure equipment is operating properly and in good condition, and that windows can be opened.
✅ Masks and hand-sanitizer are starting to arrive at schools. All students and staff will receive two cloth masks. Disposable masks will also be available if a student forgets, loses, or soils their mask during the school day.
✅ Resources for families and students are currently available at with more to be added.
✅ Regional Centres for Education and the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial, will continue to communicate with families and principals will reach out to families with specific information about their school closer to September.
✅ Before and After School Programs will be offered in accordance with public health guidelines that are currently in development.
✅ Schools, with the support of public health, will notify families as soon as they become aware of a COVID-19 case in their school, along with what measures will need to be taken.
✅ A Return to Sport school sports schedule and protocols are in the final stage of development and will be communicated to schools by the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation.

For more information on post-secondary education, prevention plans and pre-primary program please visit