Citing confusion over new face-mask rules, N.B. couple plans to fight $292 ticket
WOODSTOCK, N.B. -- There is confusion over the rules when it comes to orange and yellow zones in New Brunswick, and now a couple is preparing to fight an almost $300 ticket, saying they had no chance to learn those rules.
Jacob Munn says he had just got a coffee and muffin and was returning to his truck in a parking lot in Woodstock, N.B., when he pulled his bandana-style mask down.
At that moment, he says, an officer approached.
"He told me that my mask wasn't acceptable and I had to have it on," Munn said. "He had offered me one -- the disposable ones -- I said, 'I'm good, I'm almost to my truck, thanks anyway,' kind of thing. Uh, I got back to my truck, he demanded I give him my ID. I just said, 'No, I haven't done anything wrong.'"
When his partner Brooke Lockhart started filming the encounter, Munn was ticketed $292 for not properly wearing a mask.
"We're frustrated," Lockhart said. "Everyone else is frustrated in this province, and there's been such a lack of education, so many mixed messages going around."
Lockhart says the ticket was issued on Nov. 28, two days after their zone became orange and stricter measures were put in place, including wearing a mask indoors and outdoors.
Premier Blaine Higgs said Thursday that between Nov. 20 and 28, 2,500 sites were visited by peace officers in the Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton zones.
A total of 87 tickets were issued for non-masking and 38 businesses were ticketed for non-compliance matters.
"I certainly commended our officers for their diligence and I know it can be disruptive, but I'm asking for patience here because we're right on the cusp of the end phase," Higgs said.
But even in the last day or so, the rules have been adjusted.
For instance, no matter what zone you're in, you must wear a mask in your car while going through a drive-thru.
Even the government's website acknowledges the rule is a "new" addition.
Lockhart and Munn say they're not against wearing masks whatsoever, but they wonder if education should come first -- ticketing last.
The couple plan to fight their ticket in court on Jan. 12 and they say they have a lot of community support -- some who have promised they'll be there with them.