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New Brunswick businesses prepare to reopen in new reality
SAINT JOHN -- With no new cases of COVID-19 in a week, New Brunswick is slowly starting to relax some of its restrictions.
Those who have been allowed to open for business are now readying for the new reality. But for others, it’s considered just too risky this year.
The Rockwood Park golf course is getting ready to open for the season, after getting the green light from the provincial government, a decision that came a little earlier than they expected, though they’re not complaining.
“One of the guidelines was that we were allowed to do regular maintenance, so work was underway,” says Jim Pearson of Rockwood Park golf course. “But we do need to do more work, somewhere in the range of seven to ten days, so we’re hoping to get opened in that time frame,”
But it won’t be business as usual just yet. The province has made it clear that golf courses and driving ranges can open, but need to maintain physical distancing and safety measures.
The number of tee times is restricted, or limited. Social distancing still has to be practiced. Things like two people in a golf car, unless they’re in the same household.”
The province has also said that people can now go to parks and beaches if they practice physical distancing. Though in Saint John, the Irving Nature Park will remain closed to the public for the time being.
As some restrictions start to loosen up, the province has said that large gatherings like festivals and concerts will be a no-go for the rest of 2020.
That’s bad news for festivals like the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival in Fredericton, which was set to celebrate its 30th anniversary this year.
“To think that for the first time in 30 years, we’re not going to get the chance to do that is really heartbreaking,” says Brent Staeben, Director of Music Programming for the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival.
A heartbreak that’s eased a little by the festival’s loyal fan base.
Staeben says they had already sold 1000 ultimate passes before Christmas, and so far, no one has asked for a refund.
“In fact, the overwhelming majority of the responses we’ve gotten is, will you allow me to keep my passes for next year?” Says Staeben.
In a news release Saturday, N.B. premier Blaine Higgs said this recovery phase shouldn’t be taken lightly, and that the province needs to continue to be vigilant otherwise they’ll have to tighten up restrictions again.
Looking forward to the future, as the province attempts to figure out this new normal.