Theatres & COVID-19
For the latest COVID regulations information, please visit the following resources:
On this page:
The reopening plan gradually eases restrictions over 3 phases. Each phase is based on ongoing epidemiology, hospitalizations, employee absences and COVID-19 activity in long-term care facilities. On Monday, February 14, 2022 at 12:01am, Phase 1 Begins. During phase 1, events start again, gathering limits are increased and border restrictions are lifted for domestic travellers. Phase 2 further increases gathering limits. In phase 3, gathering limits and social distancing requirements are lifted.
Nova Scotia starts phase 1 of the reopening plan on 14 February 2022. Until then, all current provincewide restrictions and guidance remain in place.
Restrictions of particular importance to theatre-makers and producers are as follows:
- Gathering limit for live indoor events is maintained at 50% capacity.
- Venues without fixed seating must ensure two metres of physical distancing between groups of up to 25 spectators from the same household or close social group. Venues with fixed seating must ensure as much physical distancing as possible between groups.
- Rehearsals and performances are permitted up to a maximum of 60 participants indoors or outdoors (including staff and officiants) without physical distancing. Masking is recommended where physical distancing of 2 metres (6 feet) cannot be maintained.
- Singing and performance involving wind or brass instruments is permitted without masking, as long as physical distancing from spectators is maintained. Performers and musicians need to maintain a minimum physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet) from spectators.
- Venues must not serve food and beverages in theatre seating where masking by patrons is required at all times, but may serve food and beverages in designated areas. Event hosts must ensure that patrons are seated when consuming food or beverages at events in designated areas, up to a maximum of 25 persons per table.
- Recreational day camps (indoor and outdoor) can operate with up to 30 people (including staff and volunteers) in each individual camp group without social distancing or multiple groups of 30 people each with social distancing between groups and need to follow COVID-19 Return to Day Camp Guidelines (PDF).
- Proof of Vaccination (POV) and masking is required for attendees at performances, workshops, and camps.
Regulations for patrons and volunteers that are still in effect:
- Masks and proof of full vaccination are required throughout phases 1 and 2 (these restrictions may be in place during phase 3).;
- Front of House personnel are encouraged to use the FREE VaxCheckNS app to verify POV documents;
- Masks must be worn at all times (even while seated and distanced in an audience). If a person needs to remove their mask in order to eat or drink, they must be seated while doing so and replace it immediately when finished;
Please consult this Q&A document from recent information sessions with the Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism, and Heritage if you have additional questions regarding these new regulations.
If your company has live events scheduled that will be negatively impacted by these new restrictions (i.e. loss of ticket revenue), you are encouraged to reach out to Chris Shore at the Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism, and Heritage directly for potential support.
The VaxCheckNS app launched October 21, 2021. VaxCheckNS is a FREE app for organizations and businesses to scan the QR (quick read) code available on the latest Proof of Vaccination documentation provided by the government of NS, which looks like this:
The app will scan both digital (ie. PDF on your smartphone) and print versions of this NS POV document, however trials have shown that digital versions have a higher success rate. The app will not work with the older versions of NS POV documentation, however those versions continue to be acceptable and valid - they just need to be checked manually by Front of House (FOH) personnel.
Please also know the app will support reading QR codes from the following provinces and territories: Yukon, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, Manitoba, and Northwest Territories. POV from all other provinces/jurisdictions must be checked manually.
Using the App
Once downloaded and installed, open the app, select the "Scan Code" option, present the POV with QR code and frame the QR using the camera guides. The QR will read automatically, generating a green "Confirmed" screen if valid and a red "Sorry" screen if unable to confirm. If unconfirmed, check POV manually.
Example of the VaxCheckNS app process.
If you would like to see further instructions for using the app, please watch this short video.
Tips, Tricks, and Advice for using the VaxCheckNS App
We know our members will be eager to deploy this free service to speed up the entry process of patrons into their venues. Here are some tips from the Nova Scotia Business and Labour Economic Coalition to ensure fast and successful scanning:
- Digital version is preferred for fast and reliable scans.
- Digital PDF works best when QR code zoomed to fit screen.
- Screenshot of full sized PDF does not work well due to pixilation when zooming in.
- Folded or wrinkled paper does not work very well and manual inspection is suggested
- If presenting paper version, lay it flat on a table for best results.
- Apple Health also works well, as will Apple Wallet when that becomes available.
What your patrons need to know:
- They do not need to download the VaxCheckNS app to participate in the scanning process. They only need to present a digital or print version of their POV with the QR code (available to download here).
- The also need to bring and present a piece of valid ID in order to verify they are the holder of the POV.
- Their personal information will not be stored or transmitted when scanned by the app.
- Older versions of POV documentation are still acceptable - they just need to be inspected manually by FOH personnel.
What we recommend to our members to help make the entry process as smooth as possible:
- Ensure patrons have access to POV policy information at every step of the purchase process.
- Prepare patrons for what to expect upon entry. Create a page on your website where you list your COVID-19 policies and provide patrons with links for where they can easily access their POV information so they arrive prepared.
- Make sure FOH staff/volunteers have the app downloaded and tested prior to admitting the public. Also ensure they are prepared to manually check POV documentation in case patrons arrive with older versions of the documentation. Remember, the date of a patron's second vaccination must have been at least two weeks before the date of your event in order for the person to be considered fully vaccinated. More information about vaccination status is available here.
- FOH must also check a valid piece of ID after scanning/inspecting POV to verify the POV documentation matches the person presenting it.
Other helpful VaxCheckNS Resources (courtesy of Nova Scotia Business and Labour Economic Coalition):
- October 20th | Proof of Vaccination Digital Verification Presentation (PDF)
- October 6th | Proof of Vaccination Digital Verification Presentation (PDF)
Canada Actors' Equity Association Position on COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements in the Workplace
Halifax Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Employee Vaccine Policy Framework discussion
FAQ - Proof of Vaccination Policy
COVID-19 Resources - Halifax Chamber of Commerce
Manadatory Vaccine Policies - Considerations for Employers by Cox & Palmer