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N.B. to drop all COVID-19 restrictions on March 14; vaccine passport ends Monday


New Brunswick is the latest Maritime province to announce plans to remove all COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines.

Premier Blaine Higgs said all pandemic-related restrictions and mandates will be eliminated at 12:01 a.m. on March 14.

At that time, all mandatory orders will be lifted, which means masks won’t be required indoors or outdoors, capacity limits will be eliminated and physical distancing requirements will be no more, along with isolation requirements for the general public.

“For almost two years now, we have been living with the COVID-19 pandemic and the various measures that have been in place to protect New Brunswickers,” said Higgs during a news conference on Thursday.

“While it has not been easy, we have risen to every challenge to keep our communities and loved ones healthy and safe.”

After March 14, a five-day isolation period will still be recommended for people in long-term care facilities, shelters, correctional facilities and other vulnerable sectors, who test positive for COVID-19.

Masks will still be recommended for workers or visitors at facilities where patients or residents are more vulnerable to the virus.

“While we are at a point where we can lift the enforced measures, people still need to take their own protective measures, especially if they are at higher risk due to age, being immunocompromised or not being vaccinated,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health.

“Public health will continue to provide advice and guidance on what people can do to reduce their risk, with a focus on those who are at greatest risk of hospitalization and death due to COVID-19."

All restrictions in public schools will also be lifted on March 14, but students and staff are encouraged to wear masks if it makes them feel more comfortable.

"We are in the position to lift measures because the majority of New Brunswickers have done the right thing throughout this pandemic," Higgs said. "When asked, you followed public health measures ... you did this because you understand that it is about more than individual right.

"You are the reason we are able to take this next step. It was the sacrifices of the majority that got us here today."


Effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, proof of vaccination will no longer be required at facilities such as gyms, entertainment centres, churches and restaurants.

Other measures under Level 1, including masking and physical distancing, will remain in effect until March 14.

"While the time has come to lift mandatory restrictions, the COVID-19 virus will still be with us for some time to come," said Russell. "It is likely that there will be spikes in cases and illness as people move about and interact."

The province's top doctor says, although the move to no restrictions may be worrisome for some, New Brunswick is ready for the change.

"We know how to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities," said Russell.

Currently, New Brunswick is under Level 1 of its COVID-19 Winter Plan, which came into effect on Feb. 18.

Under Level 1:

  • Informal indoor gatherings can have a maximum limit of 20 people; informal outdoor gatherings have a maximum limit of 50 people. 
  • Businesses, including entertainment centres, gyms and spas, will not have to keep capacity limits. However, spas must maintain physical distancing between patrons.
  • Restaurant patrons must remain seated while in dining areas.
  • Masks must continue to be worn in indoor public spaces, and outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Singing will be permitted at faith venues, but masks will be required

The full list of restrictions under Level 1 can be found on the province's website.


A mandate that requires government employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 was put into effect, which resulted in some workers being laid off after they refused the order.  

Higgs said, as the province looks at pandemic policies, vaccine mandates are also being reviewed for existing employees. He says vaccine mandates will remain for any new employees.


Beginning mid-March, Higgs said the province will no longer be updating its COVID-19 online dashboard, and will instead provide a weekly update on the communicable disease section of public health's website.


New Brunswick reported no new deaths related to COVID-19 on Thursday.

However, hospitalizations have climbed slightly, as the province reported three more patients with COVID-19 in hospital.

According to the province's online dashboard, there are 77 people in hospital with COVID-19, 41 of whom were admitted for COVID-19, and 36 who were admitted for other reasons, but tested positive on admission, or tested positive while in hospital.

Five people are being treated in intensive care and two are on ventilators.

To date, New Brunswick has reported 300 deaths related to the virus. Russell said 150 of those deaths, or half, have been reported since Dec. 1.


The province reported 365 new PCR-confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 266 recoveries Thursday. The number of active cases has increased to 3,408.

The regional breakdown of the new cases is as follows: 

  • 110 new cases in the Moncton region (Zone 1)
  • 78 new cases in the Saint John region (Zone 2)
  • 80 new cases in the Fredericton region (Zone 3)
  • 17 new cases in the Edmundston region (Zone 4)
  • 20 new cases in the Campbellton region (Zone 5)
  • 50 new cases in the Bathurst region (Zone 6)
  • 10 new cases in the Miramichi region (Zone 7)

Public health says 819 new cases of COVID-19 were also identified from rapid tests on Thursday.

New Brunswick has reported a total of 36,035 cases since the start of the pandemic.


According to the province’s online dashboard, 92.8 per cent of New Brunswick residents aged five and older have received their first dose of vaccine, 86.8 per cent have received their second dose, and 49.6 per cent have received their booster dose.

Higgs said, as of Thursday, New Brunswickers aged 50 and older, and who are at highest risk, have a vaccination rate of 96 per cent. Of this age group, 74.6 per cent have received a COVID-19 vaccine.


The regional health authorities say there are currently 130 Vitalité health-care workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are isolating.

There are also 221 Horizon health-care workers and 57 Extra Mural - Ambulance New Brunswick workers who are isolating after testing positive.

More information on COVID-19 in New Brunswick can be found on the province’s website. Top Stories

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