Some pre-pandemic government services to return to normal under N.B.'s Green phase
With the province fully in the Green phase of its recovery plan, New Brunswickers will soon see changes to government services.
In Moncton, Fredericton, and Saint John, city transit riders will no longer be required to wear masks when taking public transit.
Austin Henderson, manager of strategic communications for the City of Moncton, says all three municipalities are still encouraging riders to wear a face-covering if they’re comfortable doing so.
Beginning July 31st, buses will run without capacity limits for the first time since March 2020.
"We’ve gone anywhere from nine passengers to six to 18 to 50 per cent, but now that means that we can have full seated as well as standing loads on our buses,” says Henderson.
Riders will still see some pandemic precautions during their commute. The plexiglass barriers surrounding drivers will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
"We wanted to make sure that measure stayed in place, and also it’s much easier to keep that up as opposed to taking it down than needing to reinstall last minute if ever we have to go back to a different phase of the province’s recovery plan," says Henderson.
Change are also coming to Service New Brunswick service centres across the province, effective Tuesday.
In an email to CTV News, a spokesperson for the provincial organization says, "mask requirements and physical distancing measures will no longer be required in service centres across the province, but masks will still be necessary during driver’s road tests until further notice."
In Frederiction, many of the same restrictions will also be removed from all city-owned and operated facilities.
Michelle Horncastle is the city’s manager of recreation, culture, and community development.
"Masking social distancing, contact tracing and hand sanitizing will no longer be required by individuals taking part in our programs or using our recreational sports facilities," says Horncastle.
Residents won’t see any changes at facilities operating under the two regional health authorities.
In a release on Thursday, both Horizon Health and Vitalité said they will not be doing away with any of the COVID-19 precautions put in place during the pandemic.
“All visitors will continue to be screened upon entry. Masks are required for everyone in a Horizon or Vitalité facility. When you come to a Horizon hospital or health care facility for an appointment or to visit a loved one, please wear your own face mask. You will be provided a new face mask during the screening process and asked to put on this face mask before entering," says the release.
Physical distancing and frequent hand cleaning are also required.
The decision to continue with pandemic protocol is one Dr. David Kogon, who works at the Moncton City Hospital, strongly agrees with.
"The hospital is an especially high-risk location, more that means the people there are more at risk and I think it behooves a hospital to be extremely cautious and take extra precautions compared to the general out and about population," says Kogon.
Visitor restrictions will also remain in place at Horizon and Vitalité hospitals and health care facilities until further notice.
Fully vaccinated Canadian visitors from outside Maritime provinces, as well as fully vaccinated international visitors, must show proof of vaccination, provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to entry, and agree to two more tests on days five and ten.
Visitors with only one dose, as well as unvaccinated visitors, may only be permitted entry 14 days after they’ve arrived in the province.
Atlantic Canadians will be permitted entry without restriction, regardless of their vaccination status.