Nova Scotia indoor dining can reopen from Wednesday, June 16 as the province moves into the second phase of its reopening plan.
The second phase will bring back indoor dining to bars and restaurants after a seven-week absence.
Restaurants and other liquor-licensed establishments like bars, wineries, and breweries will be able to offer indoor and outdoor dining with a minimum physical distance of two metres between tables.
Each table can only have a maximum of 10 people, who are part of a “close social bubble.” They can only serve dine-in customers until 11 p.m. and must close by midnight. Live music is permitted on outdoor patios at restaurants and drinking establishments, but only with one performer.
Per the province’s five-phase plan, the phases move in two-week increments so long as there are declining COVID-19 case counts, declining hospitalizations, and an increase in vaccination rates among Nova Scotians aged 12 and older. Those criteria to proceed to the second phase have all been met.
The Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia said on Monday they had received about 48 hours’ notice of a partial reopening. The short notice has left restaurants rushing to rehire staff and order supplies.
“A lot of people have left the industry. They’ve gone to other places, construction, you name it. They’ve gone to a variety of different sectors where they could get employment, have a regular paycheque. So, we’re definitely going to be short,” said Gordon Stewart, the association’s executive director.
“How do we plan when to bring back our staff? We’ve been told only this morning that we can open Wednesday and people are scrambling to place their food orders, to bring in their staff,” said Luc Erjavec, vice-president of Atlantic Canada for Restaurants Canada.
Wage and rent subsidy rates will start to decrease in July, as the federal government phases out emergency subsidy support into a new program focused on hiring and recovery.