UPDATED: Some provincial restrictions lessened
The first phase of New Brunswick’s recovery plan and the loosening of some public health restrictions were announced today by Premier Blaine Higgs, the COVID-19 all-party committee which includes Liberal leader Kevin Vickers, People’s Alliance leader Kris Austin and Green Party leader David Coon, and by Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health.
The plan to re-open businesses, educational facilities, the health-care system, recreational activities, and cultural events will be guided by four distinct public health alert levels:
- Red: This is the present phase aimed at flattening the curve and containing the virus as quickly as possible.
- Orange: The goal of this phase is to balance the reopening of social and economic settings while preventing a resurgence of transmission.
- Yellow: The goal of this phase is to further increase the reopening of social and economic settings after the ability to control transmission has been demonstrated.
- Green: This phase will likely come after a vaccine is available or more is learned about how to protect people from the virus.
The phased plan will allow health experts to monitor and evaluate the impact of the lifting of restrictions. At any time, restrictions that have been lifted may quickly be reinstated to protect public health. Restrictions may be put in place based on provincial, regional or local circumstances such as unlinked community outbreaks or cases that cannot be traced.
“We will continue to carefully monitor COVID-19 in the province. This includes testing and tracing,” said Russell. “New Brunswickers must continue following public health measures. Even as we begin to remove restrictions, you will be required to continue to practise physical distancing and good hygiene.”
As a first step, the following will be allowed effective today:
- Two-household bubbles: Households may now choose to spend time with one other household, if both households agree. The selection made is not interchangeable.
- Golf courses and driving ranges: If all physical distancing and safety measures are in place, golf courses and driving ranges can now open.
- Recreational fishing and hunting: The delay on springs seasons has been lifted.
- Outdoor spaces: With physical distancing, people can now enjoy the outdoors including parks and beaches.
- Carpooling: Co-workers or neighbours can carpool if physical distancing measures are maintained by transporting the passenger in the backseat.
- Post-secondary education: Students requiring access to campus to fulfill their course requirements will be able to do so.
- Outdoor religious services: As an alternative to online worship, religious organizations can hold outdoor services if parishioners stay in their vehicles that are two metres apart.
A guidance document of the public health measures during the recovery phases is being developed and will be available soon.
Large gatherings, events and concerts prohibited
Large gatherings such as festivals and concerts are prohibited through Dec. 31, 2020, subject to change.
The latest version of New Brunswick’s State of Emergency mandatory order is available online.