HALIFAX -- As of midnight on Thursday, people in New Brunswick will have to wear a mask in all indoor public spaces.

The province is implementing the rule on the advice of New Brunswick Public Health.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs hinted last week that such a move might be coming -- even before this week's outbreak at a special care facility in Moncton.

"I mentioned last week that we would be looking for compliance. Since that time, inspection and enforcement officers from the Department of Justice and public safety surveyed 600 public spaces across New Brunswick, to assess how many people, on average, were using a mask," Higgs said Thursday afternoon. "According to this assessment, the average number of people wearing masks provincially is only 36 per cent. In major urban centers, we've had as low as 16 per cent of the people wearing masks. These numbers are simply not acceptable."

Children under the age of two and people with a valid medical condition are exempt from the requirement.

There have been 19 confirmed cases at Manoir Notre-Dame in Moncton and on Thursday there were three new confirmed cases -- but none linked to the outbreak in Moncton.

"I know that some people will not agree with this decision, but we've seen how quickly the virus can spread through a community. We must take every possible measure to prevent that from happening in our province," Higgs said. "I'm asking people to please comply, as this is another tool we can use to keep New Brunswick, in the yellow level of recovery."