ontario news watch

New Brunswick government announces plan to drop all COVID-19 restrictions by Aug. 2

FREDERICTON — New Brunswick has unveiled its road map to have all of its COVID-19 restrictions lifted by Aug. 2, a plan it calls the “Return to Green.”

Provincial Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said today the three-stage plan to reach the green alert level could be altered if the province falls short of its vaccination targets or there is a sharp rise in hospitalizations linked to the novel coronavirus.

Shephard says the first stage of loosening pandemic rules could start as early as June 7, so long as 75 per cent of New Brunswickers aged 12 and up have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Assuming the entire province is at the yellow alert level — the second-lowest level — isolation and testing will no longer be required for those travelling within Atlantic Canada, with the exception of Nova Scotia.

The next stage could be reached as early as July 1, but only if at least 20 per cent of New Brunswickers over the age of 65 have received their second dose of vaccine and the entire province is at the yellow level.

At that point, the Atlantic travel bubble will be reopened to Nova Scotia and travel registration will no longer be required for those in Atlantic Canada.

Canadians coming to the province from outside the Atlantic bubble with at least one dose of vaccine will be permitted entry with no isolation required, though travel registration will continue. Those with no vaccinations will be required to isolate with testing.

These rules will also apply to travellers from Maine, but they won’t be implemented until federal travel restrictions change.

Restaurants, gyms and salons will be permitted to operate at regular capacity if they maintain contact lists for clients.

On Aug, 2, New Brunswick Day, all health restrictions will be lifted if 75 per cent of New Brunswickers aged 12 and over have received a booster shot.

“The bottom line is that green is coming and it’s closer than maybe we imagined,” Shephard said. “We are in this position thanks to a lot of hard work being done across our province to roll out vaccines quickly and efficiently.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2021.

The Canadian Press