COVID-19 round-up for Friday, May 22 – the we all live in a Yellow Phase submarine edition

New Brunswick – “Starting today, we are moving into phase 3, the Yellow Phase of recovery,” said New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs during a press conference this morning.

“Since we began our phased recovery plan, we’ve had minimal cases of COVID-19,” said Higgs. “We’ve all been a part of achieving this.  We want to make sure businesses and the public have time to adapt to the yellow phase, so we will introduce these new changes slowly,” he added.

The changes, effective immediately, of the Yellow Phase are:

  • Your two-household bubble can be extended to close friends and family. It is recommended that gatherings indoors be limited to 10 or fewer people. Continue to keep gatherings as small as possible, especially if you have a vulnerable person in your family or a child who attends daycare.
  • Non-regulated health professionals and businesses may open, including acupuncturists and naturopaths.
  • Personal services and businesses may open, including barbers, hairstylists, spas, estheticians, manicurists, pedicurists and tattoo artists.

Beginning next Friday, May 29, the following will be included:

  • Outdoor public gatherings of 50 people or fewer will be permitted with physical distancing.
  • Religious services, including wedding and funerals, of 50 people or fewer may take place indoors or outdoors with physical distancing.
  • Elective surgeries and other non-emergency health-care services will increase.
  • Low-contact team sports will be permitted. Sports may operate as per the guidance provided by their respective national or provincial organizations if they identify means to limit the number and intensity of close contacts during play. Players should check with their local organization to ensure it will be operating. All provincial, regional and local leagues shall maintain operational plans. Sport organizations can contact the Sport and Recreation Branch of the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture for more information. Youth leagues must ensure that spectators are limited to one accompanying adult per child.
  • The following will be permitted to open:

o   swimming pools, saunas and waterparks

o   gyms, yoga and dance studios

o   rinks and indoor recreational facilities

o   pool halls and bowling alleys

Then, on Friday, June 19, it is planned overnight camps will open.

Opening of other sectors is to be determined

The reopening of casinos, amusement centres, bingo halls, arcades, cinemas, bars (without seating), large live performance venues, and large public gatherings will be determined once additional evidence is available on the province’s success in managing a resurgence of the virus.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health, reiterated there are circumstances in which the province could make a move back to the Red Phase – although that might look different if revisited.

Information on public health recovery phases, measures and guidelines is available online.

Higgs also said based on conversations with the all-party COVID-19 committee, the decision has been made to rescind the decision on temporary foreign workers (TFW), and as of Friday, May 29, TFW will be allowed into the province. The TFW’s will be subject to a 14 day quarantine prior to starting work.

Russell announced there are no new cases of COVID-19 in the province today, but said as a result of contact tracing of the case in Campbellton, a daycare has been closed until further notice, and the close contact of the case – an individual under the age of 19, have been contacted.

Russell said not to allow the low case numbers to let our guard down in regards to the virus.  “This does not mean the pandemic is over,” she said.

Russell encouraged New Brunswickers to continue to follow all existing public health protocols, and to continue to maintain physical distancing as much as possible. She reminded New Brunswickers they can spread the virus up to two days before even showing symptoms themselves, and that all residents must continue to behave as though they already carry the virus and need to protect others from it.

Further statements by the province include:

Post-secondary education institutions

Registered students can move to the province to resume or start studies at New Brunswick post-secondary institutions for the fall semester. This includes students from other provinces and from outside of the country. They will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Students are not permitted to commute daily from outside New Brunswick to attend classes.

Playgrounds

Early learning and child care facilities will now be permitted to resume using outdoor playgrounds and equipment, provided they continue to follow the required stringent cleaning protocols. More information on which school facilities are open to the public, such as playgrounds and sports fields, is available through each respective school district.

Local governments can open their parks and playgrounds if they can ensure they meet the requirements outlined by Public Health.

State of emergency remains in effect

The latest version of New Brunswick’s State of Emergency mandatory order is available online.

Future COVID-19 media briefings

Future news conferences and news releases regarding COVID-19 will be scheduled and issued as required.

Up-to-date information about COVID-19, including the latest testing numbers in New Brunswick, will continue to be available online daily.

editor@stcroixcourier.ca