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Dogs allowed on Nova Scotia restaurant patios and sidewalk cafes


Halifax – Pet dogs are now allowed on restaurant, bar and café patios, along with their owners, of course, as part of the Nova Scotia government’s promise to remove unnecessary barriers for restaurants to meet customer needs.

“We’ve listened to the restaurant industry,” aid Premier Iain Rankin. “They told us this change will help them attract more dog owners who want to enjoy a leisurely meal or a beverage and be able to do so without having to leave their dogs at home. The new rules will still protect food safety and allow restaurants to offer this option if that’s what their customers want.”

This change, which took effect on March 30, is also another way to support the food service industry that has been so severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic according to the ministry of Environment and Climate Change.

Individual business owners can decide whether to allow pet dogs, limit the number of dogs or ask a customer to remove the pet if it is misbehaving. Restaurant owners who allow dogs must follow strict food safety guidelines, including:

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  • Pet dogs will not be allowed inside restaurants; they will only be allowed on patios that can be accessed from the street.
  • Dogs are not permitted to eat while at the restaurant but they can drink water from separate bowls brought by the owner.
  • Restaurants with dog-friendly patios must post a sign so potential customers are aware before they sit down.

“Our research shows that restaurants that allow dogs see a five per cent increase in sales,” said Gordon Stewart, executive director for the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia. “Many dog owners are more likely to linger on their favourite patio, and order food or another beverage, if their dog can stay with them. It’s good for our industry and good for customers.”

See the full press release for details and conditions.