FREDERICTON (GNB) – The first phase of New Brunswick's recovery plan and the loosening of some public health restrictions were announced Friday 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.

“In these extraordinary times, I thank the other leaders, and Dr. Russell and her team for their unprecedented collaboration,” said Higgs. “To date, we have been able to manage a very difficult situation. The fact that over the past few days there have been no new cases is cause for measured optimism. I must say our success to date can largely be attributed to the ability of this group to put partisan politics aside and put New Brunswick first. Everyone in the province is focused on the same goal, whether they work in the departments of health, public safety or other frontline services, or whether they are at home doing their part by physical distancing. Your success thus far has made the next step possible.”

“We are fortunate that we have the lowest number of COVID-19 cases per capita of any province in Canada” said Vickers. “We are thankful for the exceptional work of Dr. Russell, our public health officials, our front-line workers and all those who have played a role in supporting New Brunswickers through this difficult time. We are all anxious to have businesses back up and running and to returning to the activities and social interactions we enjoyed prior to this health crisis. It is imperative, however, that we follow the guidelines and direction of Public Health laid out in the recovery plan. Let's all continue to do our part to protect ourselves, our families and our fellow residents. Stay safe.”

“New Brunswick has been a national leader in the COVID-19 fight with the fewest cases per capita in the country which is a testament to how bi-partisan cooperation works in the best interest of the people,” said Austin. “I believe it is now time to begin to re-open the economy while adhering to strict guidelines to prevent the spread and keeping our borders locked down to non-essential travel”

“I am so proud of everyone for their commitment to keep each other safe, secure and healthy,” said Coon. “Together, we have written the first chapter in the story of our fight against COVID-19. We will need that same dedication to take care of each other as we begin chapter two, particularly to look after the vulnerable and those most affected by the consequences of the pandemic.”

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.

No new cases

Public Health reported no new cases of COVID-19 today.

The number of confirmed cases in New Brunswick is 118 and the number of active cases is 11. To date, 107 people have recovered. There are 4 patients hospitalized, including 1 patient in an intensive care unit.

Up-to-date information about COVID-19, including the latest data on confirmed cases and laboratory testing in New Brunswick is available online.

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