FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government today declared a state of emergency under section 12 of the Emergency Measures Act to enhance measures to help contain the spread of COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus).
“The health and well-being of every New Brunswicker must remain our number one priority,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “With the support of the of the chief medical officer of health, and with the support of the all-party cabinet committee, we are taking this extraordinary measure to provided greater assistance to the health-care sector fighting the spread of COVID-19 in the province.”
As a result of this declaration:
- All food and beverage businesses will be reduced to take-out and delivery service only.
- All lounges and special facilities licensed under the Liquor Control Act will stop admitting patrons.
- All swimming pools, spas, saunas, waterparks, gymnasiums, yoga studios, dance studios, rinks and arenas, tennis courts, soccer and baseball fields, climbing walls, escape rooms, ski hills, golf courses, arcades, amusement centres, pool halls, bowling alleys, casinos, cinemas, libraries, museums, zoos, aquariums, barbers, hair stylists, esthetics service providers, sugar bush operations, and theatres or other live performance venues will stop admitting members of the public.
- Schools, colleges, universities and private schools must be closed to students. Institutions which have students in residence are permitted to allow them to remain in residence until they can safely return home. Online course delivery may continue.
Other measures under the declaration of state of emergency include:
- All businesses in retail sales will stop admitting patrons, except: grocery stores; pharmacies; repair garages; post offices; financial and lending institutions; retailers of fuel, hardware and automotive parts; convenience stores; animal and fish feed providers; and corporate and agency stores of NB Liquor and Cannabis NB. All businesses required to stop admitting patrons are permitted to sell online or over the phone and to arrange delivery or pick-up of purchases.
- Every person directed by a physician to self-isolate will obey.
- Every person who has been outside Canada will self-isolate within their home for 14 days after their return to Canada, and, if they experience symptoms of COVID-19 during that period, will remain self-isolated until they are free of symptoms. This requirement does not apply to people exempted by the chief medical officer of health.
- Owners and operators of all other premises at which people may gather in large numbers will take all reasonable steps to prevent gatherings of more than 10 people.
- All regulated health services providers will cease operations unless the services to be provided are to address essential health care or an emergency health-care situation.
- All unregulated health services providers, with the exception of those that are providing direct support to regulated health services providers, shall cease operations immediately.
- Owners and managers of all workplaces and organizers of all activities will take every reasonable step to ensure minimal interaction of people within 2 metres of each other and carry out advice to minimize risk as issued by the chief medical officer of health.
- All owners and managers of all workplaces will reduce to critical functions and will take every reasonable step required to prevent people who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 from entering the workplace, in accordance with advice issued by the chief medical officer of health or Worksafe New Brunswick. They will also take every reasonable step required to prevent people from entering workplaces who have travelled internationally in the previous 14 days.
- All licences, registrations, certificates and permits issued by the Province of New Brunswick valid as of March 16, 2020, shall remain valid until May 31, 2020 unless suspended by a court or by other authority under an Act of the Province.
- The right of landlords under section 19 of the Residential Tenancies Act to require tenants to vacate for non-payment of rent, and the authority of residential tenancies officers under section 22 of that act to evict tenants for the same reason, are suspended, until May 31, 2020.
The declaration is available online.
“This declaration provides us with the tools we need to ensure the safety of New Brunswickers. This is not a decision we took lightly,” said Higgs. “We are confident that these measures will result in New Brunswickers taking the necessary actions.”
No new presumptive cases of COVID-19 were reported in the province today. There are still 11 cases in New Brunswick: seven confirmed; and four presumptive.
“Although we have no new cases today, we know there will be more cases of COVID-19,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health.