As the Omicron variant wave plateaus, the province is slowly moving back to normalcy as of 11:59 p.m. on Friday, February 18.
New Brunswick will move to Level One of its COVID-19 Winter Plan heading into the weekend. The decision to move to Level One comes after continuous anger across the country against COVID-19 restrictions and a backlash against the easing of restrictions.
Following the holiday season, NB moved to Level Three. Some Canadians viewed this as the most restrictive winter plan to date, introduced following a sizeable spike in Omicron cases.
On January 28, the province moved to Level Two, which eased some of the severity of restrictions. Now, New Brunswick will be in Level One of the COVID-19 Winter Plan, the closest level to our pre-pandemic regulations available in the current Winter Plan.
Household gatherings are now only limited to 20 people, and informal outdoor meetings are capped at 50 people. There are also no limitations on household contacts under Level One.
GNB advises that indoor gatherings are not recommended for those eligible for vaccines who remain unvaccinated since there is a higher transmission risk.
Public gatherings can operate at full capacity with proof of vaccination required. Retail can reopen at full capacity with physical distancing in place. Gyms, spas, salons, entertainment centres, and restaurants can open at full capacity with proof of vaccination.
Recreation and organized sporting activities are permitted. Faith venues can operate at total capacity with proof of vaccination or 50 per cent capacity with physical distancing and contact tracing in place without proof of immunization.
GNB reminds international travellers to follow all federal testing and isolation guidelines. Moreover, positive cases confirmed with a rapid or PCR test must inform their close contacts.
Household contacts of a confirmed case must isolate for five days if they are fully vaccinated and ten days if they are not vaccinated.
Other Canadian provinces moving towards easing of restrictions
New Brunswick’s announcement of moving to Level One comes amidst many other provinces across the countries easing their local COVID-19 restrictions. Ontario has pledged to remove its proof of vaccination mandates by March 1, and all capacity limits will be released in the province by February 21.
Alberta has taken a giant leap as they remove proof of vaccination as a provincial requirement. Saskatchewan has released its proof of vaccination regulations as well. Quebec has kept its proof of vaccinations in place but has eased the restrictions in which it is required.
The easing of restrictions in New Brunswick and across Canada comes during the protests at borders, Parliament Hill, and provincial capitals across the country. Last weekend, there were “Freedom Convoy” protests in Fredericton.
The protests were met with strict warnings from the Premier, who amended the emergency order to prohibit blocking highways and roads. Moreover, people can face hefty fines if they participate. Blaine Higgs adamantly rejects the idea that the easing of restrictions is related to the anti-COVID mandates sentiments across the province.
GNB and UNB continue to recommend receiving your third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Those eligible for their booster shots can receive theirs five months following their second dose. For more information, click here.