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N.B. moves to strictest level of its COVID-19 Winter Plan, 104 in hospital Thursday

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New Brunswick will be moving into Level 3 of its COVID-19 Winter Plan effective 11:59 p.m. on Friday.

Premier Blaine Higgs says the change is necessary with the current number of hospitalizations.

"Moving to Level 3 was never something I wanted to do and I really hate to take this next step," said Higgs. "As a province, we need to get to the root of the problem and that is why we need to do this."

Higgs says, as of Thursday, there are 10 additional people in hospital, bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 104.

Of those currently in hospital:

  • nine are in intensive care
  • 76 are over the age of 60
  • three are on a ventilator
  • 78 per cent are either unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or it has been six months since their second dose
  • three people are under the age of 19

The move to Level 3 means the single-household bubble rule will be back in effect, meaning New Brunswickers can only gather with people who they live with.

Also under Level 3, public gatherings are not permitted at any venue, and restaurants will be limited to drive-thru, takeout or delivery services only.

Gyms, salons and entertainment centres will also be required to close under Level 3.

Faith-based gatherings can only take place outdoors, virtually, or by in-car services.

Organized sports and all other organized activities are not permitted with people outside a single-household bubble under Level 3. Lodges and other facilities that support outdoor sport must not exceed 50 per cent capacity and must not permit food or drink to be consumed indoors.

Higgs says the province will remain in Level 3 of its COVID-19 Winter Plan until Sunday, Jan. 30 at 11:59 p.m.

"Think of it as short-term pain for long-term gain," said Higgs, as he spoke about the move to Level 3.

A full list of restrictions and guidelines for Level 3 can be found on the province's website.

“These measures are serious, and that is because we are facing a very serious situation,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health.

“For the next two weeks, I ask all New Brunswickers to do their part. Please, stay within your single-household bubble, wear a well-fitted mask whenever you are in public, only go out in public for necessities, and book your booster dose if you are five months from your second dose, especially if you are 50 or older.”

Higgs adds, as of Thursday, there are 386 health-care workers in New Brunswick isolating due to a positive COVID-19 infection.

TRAVEL REGISTRATION PROGRAM NO LONGER IN EFFECT

New Brunswick's premier also announced that the New Brunswick Travel Registration Program will no longer be in effect.

Higgs says the change is to allow enforcement officers with the Department of Justice and Public Safety more time to focus on ensuring individuals and businesses are in compliance with Level 3 measures.

SMALL BUSINESS RECOVERY GRANT EXTENDED

Opportunities NB is launching a third phase of the New Brunswick Small Business Recovery Grant program and extending it until the end of February.

Eligible businesses can receive a one-time payment of up to $10,000.

Applications can be made online between Jan. 24 and Feb. 28.

Details on the program, including who is eligible, can be found on the government's website.

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