Reopening Your Business

Mandatory Masks In All Indoor Public Places

On July 31st, the province announced non-medical masks must be worn in indoor public places.

Indoor public places include:

  • Retail businesses
  • Shopping centres
  • Personal services businesses such as hair and nail salons, spas, body art facilities, except during services that require removing a mask
  • Restaurants and bars, except while people are eating or drinking
  • Places of worship or faith gatherings
  • Places for cultural or entertainment services or activities such as movie theatres, concerts and other performances
  • Places for sports and recreational activities such as a gym, pool or indoor tennis facility, except while doing an activity where a mask cannot be worn
  • Places for events such as conferences and receptions
  • Municipal or provincial government locations offering services to the public
  • Common areas of tourist accommodations such as lobbies, elevators and hallways
  • Common areas of office buildings such as lobbies, elevators and hallways, but not private offices
  • Public areas of a university or college campus, such as a library or student union building, but not classrooms, labs, offices or residences
  • Train or bus stations, ferry terminals and airports

For more information, visit the Nova Scotia Government website here.

For a list of businesses offering PPE including masks, visit our PPE page here.

Reopening Cape Breton’s Economy: A Guide For Businesses And Organizations 

There are many things to consider as we take this next step and we must all work together and support one another as we adjust to this “new normal”. It is important to note that businesses were not required to reopen on June 5th; however, it is important that when businesses do reopen, they do it with confidence.

The Cape Breton Regional Chamber of Commerce, Cape Breton Partnership, Cape Breton Regional Municipality, and the Sydney Downtown Development Association have collaboratively developed a guide to reopening, Reopening Cape Breton’s Economy: A guide for Businesses and Organizations as they prepare to reopen throughout Cape Breton Island.

Furthermore, the Cape Breton Regional Chamber of Commerce is closely monitoring and assessing resources with regards to reopening businesses. Similar to the guide, we have curated and summarized suggested guidelines that businesses can follow in order to reopen confidently and safely:

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has released numerous resources to support workplaces in understanding and managing the risks associated with COVID-19. You may find these tools useful as your business develops a plan to reopen when it is safe to do so: 

COVID-19 Prevention Plan

All businesses and organizations that were originally ordered to close are required to create a “COVID-19 Prevention Plan”.  While Businesses that were allowed to remain open are not required to create the Prevention Plan, it is recommended.

Businesses and organizations that are a member of an association or college can adopt a sector-specific plan as their Workplace COVID-19 Prevention Plan. Plans must address the following public health protocols:

  • Social distancing in the workplace for both employees and customers
  • The number of customers
  • How to work and interact with customers
  • Cleaning
  • Equipment
  • Preparing employees to return to work
  • Preparing for customers or clients
  • Monitoring and communicating of the plan

Information on how to develop these plans can be found here.

Businesses and organizations should contact their association to learn what they need to do to reopen safely. 

Public Health is meeting with industry associations to share public health principles and provide information to help them develop their plans.

Businesses should also ensure they have the proper PPE. We have compiled a list of local businesses offering PPE within the CBRM. We are updating this list regularly. The list can be found here.

All businesses and organizations must share their plans with employees and have it available if requested. They also need to provide their plans to provincial inspectors if asked.

POST Promise 

The POST (People Outside Safely Together) Promise is a self-declaration that a business is working to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is a partnership between the Government of Canada and the POST Promise organization. This is a voluntary commitment program that helps business across the country reopen safely by following the key five public health actions that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  1. Maintaining physical distance
  2. Washing and sanitizing hands
  3. Cleaning and disinfecting regularly
  4. Staying home if unwell and self-monitoring for symptoms
  5. Practising respiratory etiquette (including wearing a mask when physical distancing is difficult)

By displaying the “POST Promise” logo, participating businesses can reassure customers that they are doing their best to help protect the health and safety of employees and customers.

For more information on the POST Promise, click here.

Gathering Limits & Social Distancing

Under the Health and Protection Act Order, gatherings of more than 10 people are not permitted unless your group is exempt from the rule. Please see if your group is exempt HERE. Businesses and organizations that are able to maintain social distancing are exempt from this rule. For more information on the gathering limit rules, please visit the Nova Scotia Government page on gatherings here.

Customers and employees are required to follow social distancing guidelines to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing means to limit your contact with other people and stay 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others. For more information about the social distancing guidelines please click here.

Keeping Customers & Employees Safe

Businesses and customers must work together in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Besides social distancing procedures, businesses and organizations can ask customers and employees to follow additional health and safety measures. Additional safety measures may include asking customers to wear a face mask or to follow signage on what direction to walk in and where to stand when in an establishment.

It is important for businesses to share their safety measures and procedures with the public in a clear and concise way.

Additional information on keeping customers and employees safe has been provided by the Government can be found here.

Businesses should make sure they are keeping their establishments clean. It is recommended that workspaces be cleaned and disinfected a minimum of twice a day or as required. Pay attention to high-touch areas such as doorknobs, light switches, and railings. For more information on cleaning and how to properly clean, please click here.

Businesses should assess workplace hazards that could harm employees during the COVID-19 pandemic and know how to prevent and eliminate any hazards that are found. Please visit the Nova Scotia Occupation Health & Safety page here.

Employee Support & Rights

Anyone who has travelled outside of Nova Scotia is required to self-isolate for 14 days from the day they return to the province, regardless of if they have symptoms or not. Employees are not required to give an employer a doctor’s note if they must be off work for this reason.

If employees have questions about taking leave or being laid off, please contact the Labour Standards Division at 1-888-315-0110.

If an employee has safety concerns about their working conditions, they should talk to their supervisor. If the safety concern is not resolved, they should contact their Occupation Health and Safety Committee or safety representative. If neither of those options help, employees can call the Safety Branch at 1-800-952-2687 or email [email protected].

For more information on Employee Safety please visit the Nova Scotia Government Website here.

Additional Resources 

Employee Rights & ResponsibilitiesA resource from the Government of Canada 

Nova Scotia OHS Hazards – A resource from the Government of Canada 

Working Safely By IndustryA resource from Work Safe For Life

COVID-19 Fact Sheets & PostersA resource from the Government of Nova Scotia