Many New Brunswick businesses practising caution as COVID-19 cases rise
On Saturday, New Brunswick entered its Green phase of its COVID-19 reopening plan, meaning all COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in the province. However, some businesses in downtown Moncton, N.B. are still having their employees wear masks.
“People have a choice now, to do whatever they want. We choose to wear a mask to protect ourselves, our staff and our customers,” said Steve Clerke, the co-owner of Gifts Galore in Moncton.
“I have a lot of friends that live out west and they’re saying, 'Learn from our mistakes and wait longer,'” said Rebecca McCabe, a Barista at C’est la Vie Café in Moncton.
McCabe says she has been noticing more people from out of province in the city. Because of this, they feel comfortable keeping customers distanced indoors, along with keeping previous safety measures in place, like the placement of Plexiglas.
“It’s not something that’s required. It’s just something we’re putting in place for the comfort of our customers and the different groups that come in,” said McCabe.
At the Greater Moncton Roméo Leblanc international Airport, restrictions have not changed since the province moved to the Green phase.
“We’ve kept the mask requirement in place because that’s still required when people board aircrafts so that makes it a bit more consistent,” said Bernard Leblanc, the airport’s CEO. “When the federal guidance changes then we’ll look at changing that as well.”
On Wednesday, New Brunswick reported two new cases of COVID-19, with a total of 41 active cases.
Currently, the majority of active cases reside in the Moncton area, along with a growing number of possible public exposure sites. Due to a rise in exposure sites, public health is asking those who may have been exposed to get tested.
“The number of exposure sites downtown in restaurants and bars is certainly up. Many of them have decided to close for a day and do a deep clean… I think it causes some sober second thought as to how open we should be,” said John Wishart, the Greater Moncton chamber of commerce's CEO.
Wishart says some businesses have been operating with the same amount of caution as they did before the province turned to Green.
“You may see businesses continue to be cautious for the rest of the summer until we see what the case count will be like long term,” said Wishart.