Red-level restrictions in New Brunswick being felt more by some than others
SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- Change has been swift for areas of New Brunswick under the red level of COVID-19 restrictions, but it hasn't been as dramatic as last spring's shutdown.
The Moncton region (Zone 1), Saint John region (Zone 2) and Fredericton region (Zone 3) went back to red on Wednesday, with the Edmundston region (Zone 4) going back on Monday.
Gyms, recreational facilities, spas, salons and entertainment venues must close under the red category. In addition, churches can only hold drive-in services, and restaurants can only provide take-out and delivery options.
Other so-called non-essential retailers, which were shut down under March's restrictions, are able to remain open under the province's current red level. Schools in the red zone are also staying open, with modifications and temporary closures being enforced in school buildings with confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Tracey MacDonald is the owner of spas in Moncton and Saint John, which are now closed under the red rules. MacDonald agrees with the province's decision to tighten up COVID-19 measures, but is frustrated with the amount of locations still allowed to operate.
"When you still have schools and retail staying open, but the goal of going to red is to really try and cut the numbers down and get control of it, there's a certain amount of … you can feel that it's a little bit unfair," said MacDonald.
Elizabeth Miller is a Saint John shop owner who is allowed to open under the red level.
"It's up to the shop owner to decide what they're going to do, which I don't really think is a great idea myself," said Miller. "I think it makes a very unlevel playing field."
The demand for schools to close in the red zone is growing, with an online petition calling on Education Minister Dominic Cardy to change the government's policy.
"I was really surprised and I was disappointed because it's not best for New Brunswick in general, for community transmission specifically," said Theresa Jarvis, creator of the petition.
Premier Blaine Higgs said keeping schools open may be the best method for controlling COVID-19 at this point.
"Here we are trying to keep activity normal," Higgs told CTV on Tuesday.
Red is the province's highest level for COVID-19 restrictions on paper, but Higgs said there's an even stricter level where March-type lockdown rules would be implemented, closing schools and more businesses.