Later last call: N.S. enters Phase 3, extending hours for bars, restaurants; increasing capacity for retail, gyms

Nova Scotia officially moved into the third phase of its five-phase reopening plan on Wednesday, relaxing some pandemic restrictions that have been in place for months.

Restaurants and bars are now able to serve customers until midnight and close at 1 a.m., an hour later than in Phase 2.

"It's a big hour for us and it's a big hour for hockey fans that want to come in and watch the whole game. Habs need to win tonight,” said Colin Grant, co-owner of the Midtown Tavern in downtown Halifax.

With game two of the Stanley Cup Final set to be played Wednesday night, Grant is expecting a good crowd.

"Hockey game is going to be good, but it's also Canada Day eve and nobody is going to be working tomorrow, so I expect it's going to be a busy night here,” said Grant.

Retail stores can now operate at 75 per cent capacity, which is welcome news for many business owners.

"It's so nice to see more shoppers and see more people coming in as they're comfortable with doing so. For us, for a small business with a small amount of people, we can have downstairs," says Jason Selby, owner of Selby's Bunker Coffee and Gifts in Cole Harbour, N.S.

 "It really makes a big difference by increasing 25 per cent."

Personal services like hair salons, barber shops, spas and nail salons can now operate fully across the province. But Phase 3 doesn’t bring any changes to the way the Parlour Boutique Salon in Bedford, N.S.

"We've been working with masks, social distancing and reduced capacity since we reopened after the first lockdown back in June of 2020,” said owner Jacquelyn LeRue.

LeRue is looking forward to restrictions easing even more.

"We're really looking forward to moving through these phases quickly and safely so that we can get to the end game which would be working at full capacity, using all of our chairs, taking off the masks and losing the social distancing so that we can welcome in more clients again,” said LeRue.

Fitness establishments like gyms, yoga studios and recreation facilities can now operate at 75 per cent capacity but for Spin Co. nothing changes in Phase 3.

"Because we are a small fitness boutique, we can only put so many bikes six feet apart within our environment within the studio,” said owner Taye Landry.

According to Landry, the only thing that will change Spin Co’s situation is going back to 100 per cent capacity.

"If that means keeping our masks on, that means keeping our masks on, but the only thing that's going to change something for us is going back to full capacity,” said Landry.

 

If all goes well, Nova Scotia could move into Phase 4 of its reopening plan in two weeks.