Face coverings mandatory to enter public buildings starting Tuesday
No new cases of COVID-19, 1 more person has recovered
New Brunswickers must wear a face covering to enter buildings open to the general public, starting Tuesday, the province has announced.
The state of emergency declaration was revised Friday to require people to wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose upon entering buildings, such as stores and restaurants.
"Once inside the building and if you are able to maintain physical distancing of two metres, the mask can be removed," the government clarified in a tweet shortly after 6 p.m., nearly four hours after the news release was issued.
Children under the age of two, children attending licensed early education and child-care facilities, and anyone unable to wear face coverings due to medical issues are exempt from the order.
Up until now, face coverings were only required in locations where keeping a physical distance of six feet, or two metres, was not possible.
Small price to pay
Matt Savage, who owns Savage's Bicycle Centre in Fredericton, said the new rule is a small price to pay to be able to operate his store.
"If that's what you have to do to open your doors, I'm OK with that," he said."And I think you'll find that most businesses will be as well. They're going to do what they have to do. It's better than the alternative, right?"
Savage doesn't think the mask requirement will keep customers away either. He said they've been very patient since his shop reopened.
"There are times when we've had to have people waiting outside when we couldn't accommodate them. So, I think most people are really on board with this stuff and really want to do their part."
If anything, the masks will serve as a "nice reminder that we're not really out of the woods from this thing yet," said Savage.
"It almost feels like we're back to normal to a certain degree, [but] we've had to really remind customers that we're still in this."
Savage, who is also the president of Downtown Fredericton Inc., said businesses will have to plan for the new requirement over the next few days. But he doesn't expect that will be a problem.
"I think you have to be adaptable and you just kind of roll with the punches," he said.
Businesses with any questions should contact WorkSafeNB, the government said.
New Brunswick recorded no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday, and one more recovered patient, as most of the province progressed to next step of the yellow phase of the COVID-19 recovery plan, which involves a further loosening of restrictions.
It comes one day after New Brunswick had its first COVID-19-related death.
New Brunswick has 14 active cases of the respiratory disease, all in the Campbellton region, also known as Zone 5.
Four people remain in hospital, including one person in intensive care.
Officials have linked the outbreak, which began on May 21, to a medical professional who travelled to Quebec for personal reasons and returned to work without self-isolating for 14 days.
Effective Friday, indoor gatherings of up to 10 people in private homes are permitted across the province, except for the Campbellton region, which remains under the stricter orange phase of recovery.
Outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people, and religious services with up to 50 people, including weddings and funerals, are also permitted, indoors or outdoors, with physical distancing.
Residents in long-term care facilities are allowed to have up to two visitors outdoors, with physical distancing, provided the facilities are able to accommodate them.
"Low-contact" team sports are permitted.
In addition, the following businesses are now allowed to open:
- Swimming pools, saunas and waterparks, with a limit of 50 people in each activity area.
- Gyms, yoga and dance studios.
- Rinks and indoor recreational facilities, with a limit of 50 people in each activity area, and limit of 50 spectators.
- Pool halls and bowling alleys.
On Thursday, Daniel Ouellette, 84, a resident at the Manoir de la Vallée in Atholville, who tested positive last Sunday, died at the Campbellton Regional Hospital at 5:10 a.m.
Four other elderly residents and four employees of the long-term care facility have also tested positive. One of the infected health-care workers lives in Quebec and will be counted in that province's statistics.
New Brunswick has recorded 136 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March. As of Friday, 121 people have recovered.
To date, 32,954 tests have been conducted.
ECGs at Moncton Coliseum
Beginning Monday, all scheduled outpatient ECG exams at the Moncton Hospital will be temporarily relocated to the Moncton Coliseum, at 377 Killam Dr., the Horizon Health Network announced on Friday.
"This temporary relocation will allow Horizon to increase the volume of services while maintaining physical distancing requirements," the regional health authority said in a statement.
Horizon will contact patients with scheduled appointments for basic ECG exams, Holter device monitoring and ambulatory blood pressure monitoring to provide further information.
Patients who arrive without an appointment will be asked to return home and contact their health-care provider, it said.
Patients should attend their appointment alone, unless they require assistance, in which case one support person will be allowed, and should arrive no more than 15 minutes early, or they may be asked to wait in their vehicle.
Upon arrival, they'll be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, asked to clean their hands and to don a mask.
Those who have a mask are asked to bring their own, but one will be provided for anyone who doesn't have one.
"If you do not wear a mask you will be asked to return home and contact your health care provider," Horizon said.
What to do if you have symptoms
People concerned they might have COVID-19 can take a self-assessment on the government website at gnb.ca.
Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: a fever above 38 C, a new cough or worsening chronic cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, new onset of fatigue, new onset of muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell, and difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.
People with two of those symptoms are asked to:
Stay at home.
Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor.
Describe symptoms and travel history.
With files from Gary Moore