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Province releases more details on proof of full vaccination policy

As of Oct. 4, Nova Scotians will need to prove they've had both doses if they want to enjoy non-essential services and events
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A vial of the PFfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine (Photo courtesy of Communications Nova Scotia)

As of Oct. 4, Nova Scotians will need to have proof of full vaccination if they want to enjoy non-essential services and events.

That is also now the date when Phase 5 is expected to kick-in.

Full details of the new policy have not yet been released, however the province did provide more details at a COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday.

Proof of vaccination will be required for:

  • full-service restaurants where patrons sit at tables to be served, both indoors and on patios
  • liquor licensed establishments, casinos and other gaming establishments, both indoors and on patios
  • indoor and outdoor fitness and recreation facilities such as gyms, yoga studios, pools and arenas, as well as fitness classes
  • indoor and outdoor leisure facilities and businesses such as dance and music lessons, climbing facilities, escape rooms, pottery painting, indoor play places, arcades, shooting ranges, go-carts and outdoor adventure
  • indoor and outdoor festivals, special events, and arts and culture events and venues such as theatre performances, concerts and movie theatres, unless they are outdoor events held in public spaces with no specific entry point, such as Nocturne
  • participants and spectators for indoor and outdoor sports practices, games, competitions and tournaments
  • indoor and outdoor extracurricular school-based activities, including sports
  • bus, boat and walking tours
  • museums, public libraries and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia
  • indoor and outdoor events and activities such as receptions, social events, conferences and training that are hosted by a recognized business or organization
  • indoor and outdoor wedding and funeral ceremonies, receptions and visitation that are hosted by a recognized business or organization

"It's also been decided that proof of vaccination will not be required under this provincial policy for employees of businesses and organizations that offer the events and activities that I listed above," said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang at a Tuesday briefing, "however businesses and organizations are encouraged to set their own vaccination policies, taking legal and ethical implications into consideration."

Proof of vaccination will not be required by the province for the following:

  • retail stores
  • financial institutions
  • food establishments that primarily offer fast food, takeout and delivery
  • professional services such as accountants and lawyers
  • personal services such as hair salons, barber shops, spas and body art
  • health-care services and health professions such as doctors' offices, dental care, massage therapy and physiotherapy
  • rental accommodations such as hotel rooms, cottages and campgrounds
  • faith services
  • school-based activities that take place during the school day, before and after school programs and school buses
  • business meetings and other activities where the general public is not present
  • places where government services are offered
  • food banks, shelters, Family Resource Centres and adult day programs for seniors or people with disabilities
  • informal gatherings at a private residence

However, Strang added, "any of the businesses and organizations that offer these services or activities certainly can have their own vaccination policies," but "they need to remember that people who are not fully vaccinated must be able to have access to essential services."

Those who have proof of a valid medical condition or behavioural reason preventing vaccination will be exempt from this policy. The province is still working out the official details.

As children under 12 can not be vaccinated at this time, the policy also doesn't apply to them, and Strang said there will be a bit of a grace period for those who reach that milestone birthday this year. 

"If they have turned 12 between Jan. 1 and Oct. 4 of 2021, they will have until Dec. 31 to attend events and activities without requiring proof of vaccination," the doctor explained. "It gives them time to get vaccinated."

"For children who will turn 12 on Oct. 4 or afterwards, they will have three months from their birthday to get vaccinated."


Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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