HALIFAX -- Friday will mark two weeks since the premier announced New Brunswick's phased approach at reopening and Blaine Higgs is confident the province can take the next step.

"I have been encouraging businesses for weeks to prepare for the new normal and reopening," Higgs said. "We are just days away from announcing that. In fact it will be this week."

The next step would allow:

  • elective surgeries;
  • daycares and camps;
  • retail, office spaces, restaurants, campgrounds and ATV trails; and,
  • to reopen, or resume operation.

Krista Ross of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce sums up her members' views:

"We had heard from businesses that were timid and reluctant and they were scared," Ross said. "And we said, 'no, we can do this. It's good. You're going to be able to operate your business. Keep your people employed, get your revenues going again.'"

Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton's chambers of commerce have launched a reopening and recovery guide for businesses, which directs businesses to come up with an operational plan for reopening.

"They really do want to understand clearly what their obligations and responsibilities are because they want to do a good job, they want to do the right thing," Ross said. "They are very anxious to be leaders and to follow best practices."

While some doors prepare to open, others are left closed.

Harry Newman's partner, Mary, is in a Blacks Harbour nursing home.

She has dementia, and Newman says video calls don't really work.

"I haven't seen her in seven weeks," Newman said. "It's just been a long time and I miss her and I'd like to get to see her. I'm just wondering if there's not some way that they could set up, so you could go to a special room or something and even if I had to wear a face mask, at least I would be close to her."

Approximately 12,000 New Brunswickers live in long-term care facilities.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, says she understands this has been especially difficult on a lot of families.

"The inability to visit and touch an elderly relative is very hard for residents and their families," Dr. Russell said. "We are looking at some of the palliative care policies right now, and I'll have more information on changes to palliative care visitations in the days to come."

Newman says he is willing to get tested and is hopeful that as businesses reopen, so too will access to loved ones.