It’s not easy, being Green (or is it?) – Province announces three phase plan to lift all restrictions; with a catch

Government of New Brunswick

NEW BRUNSWICK – When the news is good, everyone wants in on the delivery.  Such was the case from Fredericton today, Thursday, May 27, as Premier Blaine Higgs, Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Jennifer Russell, and Minister of Health, Dorothy Shephard gathered to announce the plan for New Brunswick’s move to the Green phase of recovery.

The shift will happen in three proposed phases, happening Monday, June 7, Thursday, July 1, and finally, New Brunswick Day, Monday, Aug. 2.

Each phase brings the relaxing restrictions under which the province has laboured since March, 2020, but there’s a catch; the shift won’t happen without minimum vaccination levels among eligible New Brunswickers.

For the first phase on June 7, at least 75 per cent of eligible residents over the age of 12 must have received their first dose of a vaccine, hospitalizations must remain low, and the entire province must be in the current Yellow phase of recovery.

For the second phase on July 1, 75 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers over the age of 12 must have received at least their first dose of a vaccine, 20 per cent of New Brunswickers over the age of 65 must have received their second dose, hospitalizations remain low, and all health zones must remain in the Yellow phase of recovery.

The final phase, and the ultimate step which would see all restrictions lifted and the mandatory emergency order to cease, Aug. 2 must see 75 per cent of all eligible New Brunswickers fully vaccinated.

Higgs said any missed requirements will mean a change in the timeline for re-opening.

Russell said while initially, the vaccine rollout was slow based on supply from Ottawa, with supplies now much more substantial and regular shipments arriving, she sees no issue with meeting the Aug. 2 goal of seeing 75 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers fully vaccinated.

Highlights of the phases include allowing compassionate travel, cross border commuters and truck drivers will no longer be subject to mandatory testing and isolation, outdoor sports allowed, the re-opening of the Atlantic bubble, indoor sports allowed, travellers from Maine may be welcomed into the province, and businesses including restaurants, gyms, and salons will be able to operate at regular capacity providing they maintain a contact list of travel.

Details from each phase, from the GNB press release, are as follows:

Phase 1, Monday, June 7

In this phase, the guidelines will include the following:

  • No isolation or testing will be required for those travelling to New Brunswick from Atlantic Canada and the Avignon and Témiscouata regions of Quebec, with the exception of Nova Scotia.
  • Compassionate travel will be permitted with isolation and testing requirements in place.
  • Cross border commuters and truck drivers will no longer be subject to testing and isolation requirements.
  • Other workers, including rotational workers, travelling outside of Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Avignon and Témiscouata will be required to isolate and take a COVID-19 test between days five and seven before they can discontinue isolation, unless they have an existing work-isolation plan.
  • Contact with all family and friends will be permitted and restrictions will be loosened for indoor and outdoor gatherings.
  • Organized sporting activities will be permitted, but restricted to teams based in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Avignon and Témiscouata.
  • Faith gatherings can take place with a maximum 50 per cent venue capacity and with the choir at least four metres from the congregation.

All other restrictions will remain in place, including the requirement for travel registration and the use of masks, based on a health zone’s alert level.

Phase 2, Thursday, July 1, Canada Day

In this phase, the guidelines will include the following:

  • Travel registration will no longer be required for those in the Atlantic provinces, including Nova Scotia, or in Avignon and Témiscouata.
  • Canadian travellers, as well as travellers from Maine, who have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, will be permitted into the province without needing to isolate.
  • Canadian travellers, as well as travellers from Maine, who have not been vaccinated will be permitted to enter the province but will be subject to testing and isolation requirements.
  • Businesses including restaurants, gyms and salons will be permitted to operate at regular capacity as long as they maintain a contact list of clients.
  • Games and sporting competitions with teams based outside of Atlantic Canada will be permitted, subject to travel requirements.
  • Beginning July 1, additional health and safety guidelines developed to respond to the pandemic will be relaxed for early learning and child-care facilities, with a full return to normal operations anticipated by Aug. 1. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development will contact operators in the coming weeks to provide more information and to organize question and answer sessions.

Travel registration will still be required for travel outside of the Atlantic bubble, Avignon or Témiscouata, and the use of masks will still be required based on a health zone’s alert level.

Phase 3, Monday, Aug. 2, New Brunswick Day

Mandatory emergency order ended; all restrictions lifted.

New Brunswick’s path to Green is available online.

From the GNB website:

Public Health has identified a potential public exposure to the virus at the following locations and dates in Zone 3 (Fredericton region):

  • The Reps Gym, 401 Connell St., Woodstock, on Monday, May 17, Tuesday, May 18, and Wednesday, May 19, between 8 p.m. and midnight.
  • Capitol Building, 114 Queen St., Woodstock, on Monday, May 17, Tuesday, May 18, and Wednesday, May 19.
  • Day & Ross Freight Terminal, 398 Main St., Hartland, on Monday, May 17, Tuesday, May 18, Wednesday, May 19, Thursday, May 20, Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22.

Public Health has identified a positive case in a traveller who may have been infectious while on the following flights:

  • Air Canada Flight 318 – from Calgary to Montreal, departed at 11:43 a.m. on May 15.
  • Air Canada Flight 8904 – from Montreal to Moncton, departed at 6:52 p.m. on May 15.

Public Health is now offering COVID-19 testing for all New Brunswickers who have been in a public exposure area, even if they are not experiencing any symptoms. Residents may request a test online or call Tele-Care 811 to get an appointment at the nearest screening centre.

Anyone experiencing one or more symptom of COVID-19 should also seek testing.

For details on COVID-19 in New Brunswick, click here. To book an appointment for a vaccination, call your local pharmacy, or click here.

editor@stcroixcourier.ca