New Brunswick Tribune

Thursday, November 30, 2023

COVID-19 restrictions will further eased in NB from next week

COVID-19 restrictions will be eased further in New Brunswick beginning next week

Key Takeaways:

  • COVID- 19 In New Brunswick, limitations will be lifted next week, and also the premier stated that he is “hopeful” that all requirements will be completed by the end of March.

COVID-19 restrictions will be eased in New Brunswick next week, and the premier stated that he is “hopeful” that all mandates will be completed by the end of March.

Premier Blaine Higgs stated, “We will need to see hospitalizations decrease as predicted and ensure that our healthcare system is not overburdened.”

“However, the mandate’s end is unmistakably insight.”

He went on to say that decisions will be made “based on science” and that the province’s high vaccination rate facilitated the move.

Around 11:59 p.m. on February 18, the province will drop to Level 1 of its winter plan.

Also read: Housing shortages in rural New Brunswick are contributing to labour shortages

Indoor meetings are restricted to 20 people, while outdoor gatherings are limited to 50. With proof-of-vaccination for patrons, businesses, spas, gyms, and restaurants can open at full capacity. Previously, they were only permitted to operate at 50% capacity.

Masks will remain required in all indoor and outdoor public spaces where physical separation is impossible.

Faith-based organizations will have the option of requiring proof of vaccination or physical separation, but both must include masking. Singing is now permitted at faith venues, thanks to a change in Level 1 rules.

Level 2 restrictions are being relaxed until February 18 to allow children’s sports teams to play together.

Chief medical officer of health, Dr. Jennifer Russell, stated loosening limitations will “lead to a bump” in hospitalizations; however, it will be manageable during a COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday.

She said the province is seeing “first signs” that the Omicron wave is slowing down, with daily hospitalizations beginning to decline in the last ten days.

“We would expect a significant increase in hospitalizations this month if restrictions were to be eased right now.” Hospitalizations will rise modestly and then stabilize if we wait another week,” she predicted.

She noted that 139 people were in the hospital on Wednesday, down from the 165 seen last week. As per the province’s dashboard, six deaths were also confirmed, bringing the province’s total to 275 since the pandemic started.

“To safeguard ourselves, our families, as well as our communities, we must all remain vigilant,” Russell said.

“However, it appears that we are on the right track.”

Meanwhile, Higgs stated that the growing number of protests across the country against COVID-19 mandates, including those in New Brunswick, had no bearing on the decision to relax restrictions.

“This was not a consideration in our decision,” Higgs said.

“We’re just sticking to the winter strategy we set up a few months ago.”

COVID-19 restrictions will be eased further in New Brunswick beginning next week.
COVID-19 restrictions will be eased further in New Brunswick beginning next week. Image from The Star

This weekend, a protest is expected in Fredericton, with the potential to cause major disruptions, as seen in Ottawa.

The protest, which has been widely publicized on social media, calls for people to converge on the provincial legislature in Fredericton and gridlock the city. “Be ready to sleep in your vehicle and also to ride this out,” the participants are told.

According to Higgs, New Brunswick is amending its emergency order, making it illegal to use a vehicle to obstruct the “normal flow of traffic.” Anyone convicted of using a vehicle to block or restrict traffic flow will have their driving privileges suspended for a year under the new rules.

Anyone who organizes or “aides in an interruption in a normal flow of traffic,” such as delivering food, drink, fuel, or other supplies, could face fines ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 for every person per incident.

Fines of up to $100,000 could be imposed on companies participating in the protest.

“Our public safety office is coordinating with Fredericton police, the RCMP, and any other resources needed to ensure they can handle the situation,” Higgs said.

“I believe there has been a lot learned from (…) the situation in Ottawa, Ontario, Quebec, and even further west, in Alberta.” All of that knowledge will be put to good use to keep this situation under control and minimize the impact on citizens.”

He went on to say that he believes the province’s decision to move to Level 1 next week — as well as the loosening of restrictions across the country — should demonstrate to potential demonstrators that a demonstration isn’t required.

“At this point, you’re probably wondering what the point is.” And I’m hoping that those who are there for the right reasons will find no reason to be there and that those who do show up will make us wonder why,” he said.

Source: Global News

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