Gathering Limits for Participants in Performing Arts, Sports to Increase

September 18th, 2020

Today the provincial government announced some positive changes to participant numbers in sport. Please see below for the official announcement.

Government is increasing the allowable numbers for participants in performing arts, sport and organized physical activity.

Effective Oct. 1, the number of people who can participate in one of these activities without physical distancing will increase from 10 to 50. For most sports, this will allow full team practises and competition to resume, while for the performing arts, this will allow for larger rehearsals and performances. This change also applies to recreational league sports, like adult hockey, and drop-in activities, like open swims and skates. Unorganized or casual games, like pickup basketball or soccer in the park, must adhere to existing gathering rules of small groups of 10 without physical distancing within a maximum of 50 with physical distancing.

“Art and sport are vital to our physical, mental and social well-being. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has put some of these activities on hold,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “Nova Scotia continues to see low COVID-19 activity, allowing us to safely resume important activities Nova Scotians enjoy.”

 The gathering limit of 50 without physical distancing includes:

  • players/participants, officials, coaches, instructors or anyone else who is required to be on or near the field of play
  • performers, directors, cast, crew or anyone else required to be within the performance space

The limit of 50 applies to practises, competitions, games, rehearsals and artistic performances. While mask use is not required while doing physical activity, wearing masks and maintaining distance as much as possible continues to be encouraged for these activities.

“This will be welcome news, especially for children and families for whom participation in sport and other activities is such an important part of their lives,” said Leo Glavine, Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage. “Getting back to the arts, culture and sport activities we love requires that we follow the guidelines in place to protect our health and safety and that of others in our communities.”

Existing gathering requirements for audiences/spectators at sport/recreation facilities and performances venues must continue to be followed.

All organizations are asked to have a rollback plan in place, should gathering limits need to be reduced again.

Quick Facts:

  • the gathering limits for day camps and after school programs remains at 15
  • the gathering limit for events and performances is 250 outside with physical distancing and 50 per cent of a facility’s capacity, up to 200 inside, with physical distancing and mandatory masks for spectators
  • testing numbers are updated daily at
  • a state of emergency was declared under the Emergency Management Act on March 22 and extended to Oct. 4. 

COVID-19 Update: July 24, 2020

After discussion with CCH and Public Health, we’d like to inform you of an update to the Public Health approved NS Sport Guidelines. This update is applicable to sport settings where up to 50 participants, physically distanced, are taking part in a sport activity, and reads as follows:

“In a defined sport setting where participants are physically distancing in one group of 50 or less, incidental contact, (where a participant comes into close contact, less than two metres, with another participant), that is infrequent, brief, and cannot be avoided may occur.”

For clarity, this does not allow for possession-based team sports such as soccer or hockey, where participants would normally be within two metres for frequent and long periods of time, to resume normal play.

If you think that this update will provide an opportunity to expand your sport’s allowable activities, please feel free to provide us with a brief description of the incidental contact that would occur, and we will work with CCH to review and reply to you.

In addition, we wanted you to know that we will continue to work together over the coming weeks to determine if further changes to regulations may be possible as we approach the fall sport season, and will provide you with that information as soon as it becomes available.

Take care,

Jamie Ferguson


Return to Sport Update

July 6th, 2020

Recently the Province announced some changes to gathering sizes for indoor and outdoor events.  We have been in contact with the Province in order to get some clarification on the changes that came into effect on July 3, 2020.

The current NS Sport Guidelines for sport activities, such as practices and games remain in place. This means that there can be a maximum of 50 participants on a field of play, socially distanced, if the facility space allows, or there can be groups of 10 participants who are not distancing, provided each group is distanced from the other, again to a total of 50 participants.  As per previous communications, it is recommended that each group of 10 remains the same as much as possible.

As of July 3, facilities that are registered businesses or organizations that are hosting amateur sporting events and competitions will be subject to the recently announced gathering limits of up to 250 people socially distanced for outdoor events, and up to 50% capacity to a limit of 200 people for indoor events.  It is important to note that this applies only to facilities hosting events that are registered businesses or organizations, and the NS Sport Guidelines remain in effect for the field of play for each host facility.  Please note that the up to 50 individuals involved in the field of play are part of the overall gathering numbers (up to 200 indoors or 250 outdoors).

For more information, please see the Communities, Culture and Heritage COVID-19 Stakeholder Guidance Document

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