Nova Scotia began its multi-phase Reopening Plan on June 2, 2021. You can find out more about Nova Scotia’s Reopening Plan by clicking here. Phase 5 of the Reopening Plan is effective starting on Monday, October 4, 2021, with some new restrictions. Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia (FMNS) continues to hold that public markets are essential food infrastructure providing essential economic services. FMNS bases our farmers’ market sector-specific COVID-19 prevention plan on the rules and regulations created by Nova Scotia Public Health.

Note: Relevant changes to health and safety restrictions in effect on October 4 are highlighted on pages 2-4 of our updated farmers’ market sector-specific COVID-19 prevention plan. The document has been updated to include information about masking requirements for performers. To view the full document, please click here.


Farmers’ markets have and continue to be allowed to operate in all regions throughout Nova Scotia. The Province of Nova Scotia recognizes farmers’ market vendors as essential service workers and has categorized farmers’ markets and their public markets as non-discretionary business activities, meaning they are exempt from requirements for proof of vaccinations. The Province of Nova Scotia states that businesses and organizations are free to create their own vaccination policies but are not required to do so. It should be noted that any proof vaccination policy should take legal and ethical implications into consideration and that all people are required to be allowed to access essential services, which include public markets.

​Key updates for all of Nova Scotia as of November 8, 2021:

  • While no longer required under Phase 5, FMNS and Public Health encourage both indoor and outdoor public markets to continue to ensure 2-metre social distancing protocols are maintained and/or physical barriers are used.
  • Rules for face masks:
      • All vendors, staff, volunteers, and customers must continue to wear a face mask while attending an indoor public market or any interior space of a farmers’ market.
      • Face masks do not need to be worn by vendors, customers, or the public at outdoor public markets.
      • FMNS and Public Health encourage vendors to continue wearing face masks at outdoor public markets.
      • Musicians are not required to wear a mask while performing, indoors or outdoors.
  • Rules for proof of vaccination:
      • Public markets are considered a non-discretionary business and are not required to ask for proof of vaccination during their hours of operation.
      • A non-discretionary business can operate in a discretionary business space, and when the non-discretionary business is running, proof of vaccination is not required. Public markets are exempt from needing to provide proof of vaccination during their hours of operation, even if they occur in a building that normally requires proof of vaccination, as public market rules supersede whatever rules are in place for the building in which the public market operates.

Further information:

Nova Scotia remains under a Provincial State of Emergency, and farmers’ markets must continue to adhere to restrictions contained in the most current Nova Scotia Health Protection Act order. Please note that the situation can change at any time. Go to to stay updated on the situation.

All farmers’ markets should observe the measures outlined in the directives on pages 2-4 of this document and adopt a regionally appropriate COVID-19 prevention plan for their farmers’ market’s operations. Additional resources are available at the end of this document (page 5).

FMNS is Nova Scotia’s farmers’ market sector association and regularly provides updates and directives to farmers’ markets so that they may continue to safely operate. We continue to work with various Government of Nova Scotia departments to stay updated on efforts to contain the spread COVID-19.

FMNS encourages those farmers’ markets that run public markets to ensure that the primary focus of the market is on promoting commercial activity for their vendors, with an emphasis on creating safe, population-controlled spaces with social distancing measures and/or physical barriers where appropriate.

FMNS continues to hold that farmers’ markets are the social, cultural, and economic backbone of communities across Nova Scotia. They’re small-business incubators, job creators, and hubs for community building. By adapting and observing restrictions we’ll keep ensuring that our farmers’ markets continue to safely operate and support our communities.