N.B. RCMP to maintain most COVID-19 measures despite lifting of mandatory order
FREDERICTON, N.B. -- The lifting of the mandatory order in New Brunswick won’t change much for the province’s RCMP.
Assistant Commissioner Larry Tremblay said the force will remain cautious for the next month or two.
“We encourage all the members who serve the public to continue wearing masks,” he said. “The cleaning measures will not change. Inside any of our offices, members will be required, or employees will be required to practice social distancing and keep their masks until we know that this is, in fact, resolved.”
On Saturday at midnight, the mandatory order in place during the last 499 days won’t be renewed. It means all of the COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted in New Brunswick, including mandatory masks and border checks.
Tremblay says the organization has been resilient during that time and it showed in the number of COVID-19 cases that affected the force.
Of the 1,300 employees within the N.B. RCMP, five came down with the virus.
However, although the province is in good shape, he’s choosing not to take any chances.
“You’ve got to look at the international situation, even what’s going on in the States right now,” he said. “We may be required to re-engage should the situation change. I think it’s expected and prudent for us to maintain our operational posture for the short-term.”
While COVID-19 changed a lot, Tremblay says his priority was the same: to ensure members who went to work, came home from work safe and healthy.
“We had one occasion in Codiac where one member, we learned after the fact, may have been in contact with a COVID-positive person. If you find out 12 hours later, that’s a whole shift,” he said. “What happened…is we isolated 30 people right away until they had a chance to have their two negative tests. Because one person infected over a week period, given the territory we had, could impact the whole police force.”
The RCMP in N.B. look after 97 per cent of its territory, and 70 per cent of its population.
Tremblay says there’s a lack of resources, both human and financial, and while he couldn’t provide an exact figure on how much the pandemic cost the force – overtime was a factor.
But along with the policies and procedures that came with the pandemic – regular policing continued on. Tremblay said the force also supported its counterparts in N.S. after the mass shooting.
He suspects there may be some celebrations once the order is lifted, but as for policing, Tremblay says he won’t be approaching this weekend any different than the last.
“I don’t see that, all of a sudden, good common sense is going to go away just because we’re past the mandatory order,” he said.