New Brunswick is introducing strict COVID-19 restrictions for the Thanksgiving weekend by limiting social gatherings to single households, both indoors and outdoors.
The new limit will be effective Friday at 6 p.m. until Monday at 11:59 p.m.
Premier Blaine Higgs also announced stringent circuit breaker measures in Zone 1 (Moncton region), as far north as and including Sainte-Anne-de-Kent; Zone 3 in the upper Saint John River valley north of and including Florenceville-Bristol, and all of Zone 4 (Edmundston region) for 14 days beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 8.
In addition, the province is mandating COVID-19 vaccination for all government employees in Parts I (civil service), II (education system), III (health-care system) and IV (Crown corporations), staff in long-term care facilities and staff and volunteers in schools and licensed early learning and child-care facilities to be fully vaccinated by Friday, Nov. 19th. If they are not fully vaccinated and do not have a valid medical exemption by Nov. 19th, they will have to be without pay and cannot work. Early learning and child-care facilities will lose child-care licences if they fail to comply with the policy.
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is rolling out a new rapid testing program for schools starting October 12th.
As part of the program, unvaccinated students who are identified as close contact of a confirmed case will be provided with either a five- or 10-day supply of rapid tests, depending on the last possible exposure date to the confirmed case, along with instructions. Tests may be sent home with students or picked up by parents the following day, depending upon when the school is notified of a confirmed case.
Measures Across New Brunswick for Thanksgiving weekend
- All New Brunswickers, including those living in areas not impacted by the circuit breaker, must limit their contacts to their single household during the Thanksgiving long weekend, between Friday, Oct. 8 at 6 p.m. and Monday, Oct. 11 at 11:59 p.m.
- Individuals who show proof of full vaccination and a government-issued ID can continue to visit businesses, entertainment venues and events. Children under 12 accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult will also be admitted.
All businesses can remain open for regular operations but must follow Mandatory Order measures. This includes those that are not required to see proof of vaccination such as hair salons, retail and grocery, and those that are required to request proof of vaccination such as restaurants and entertainment venues.
Circuit Breaker Measures in areas with high transmission
A circuit breaker will be put in place in certain areas of the province for 14 days beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 8. The areas that will be impacted are Zone 1 (Moncton region), as far north as and including Sainte-Anne-de-Kent; Zone 3 in the upper Saint John River valley north of and including Florenceville-Bristol; and all of Zone 4 (Edmundston region).
The circuit breaker restrictions include:
- People must limit their contacts to their single household, which includes individuals living together; caregivers for any member of the household; and any parent, child, sibling, grandparent or grandchild living outside the household who requires support.
- There are no restrictions on fully vaccinated people gathering at business, events and services where proof of full vaccination with a government issued ID is required (e.g. Museums, cinemas, theatres, bingo halls, casinos, amusement centres, arenas, game rooms, pools halls, live entertainment venues, weddings, funerals, gyms, yoga studios, restaurants, bars and similar venues). At these venues, individuals need to wear a mask indoors except while eating or drinking.
- Travel to or from circuit breaker regions is restricted, except for those who must travel for essential reasons, including work, health services, child custody, childcare or post-secondary education, or travel to events where proof of vaccination is required.
- All schools will remain open, unless advised otherwise by Public Health. Sports and extra-curricular activities will be paused for those 12 and under. No spectators will be permitted for any school sports or extra-curricular activities within the impacted areas.
- Businesses, entertainment centres and events may remain open and can continue to admit people who show proof of full vaccination and a government-issued ID. Children under 12 accompanied by a fully vaccinated adult will also be admitted.
(See map and detailed rules here)
The new measures are part of an effort by the province to bring down hospitalizations in areas highly impacted by the Delta wave.
The province is experiencing a rise in hospitalizations among the unvaccinated. Of the total 50 people hospitalized due to the virus, 41 are unvaccinated, 2 are partially vaccinated. There are currently 782 active cases in the province.
New Brunswick reported 90 new cases of COVID-19 today.