FREDERICTON (GNB) – All of New Brunswick will move back to Level 1 – the least restrictive level of the winter plan to manage COVID-19 – tonight at 11:59 p.m.

“I want to thank New Brunswickers who have followed the measures in place to help slow the spread of the virus,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “Our hospitals are stabilizing enough, with the number of hospitalizations continuing to trend downward and more health-care workers able to return to work, to move to Level 1. Tonight’s move to Level 1 is a major step towards reducing and eliminating restrictions as we prepare to ease out of our winter plan over the coming weeks.”

Businesses that were required to reduce their capacity under Level 2, including entertainment centres, gyms and restaurants, will be able to open to full capacity under Level 1. However, they must still require patrons to show proof of full vaccination. Spas and salons must require proof of vaccination or maintain physical distancing between patrons. Retail businesses can also open to full capacity. Masking continues to be mandatory in all indoor public spaces.

“As we move to Level 1, we must all remain vigilant as the virus is still in the province,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health. “Wearing a mask, getting vaccinated and getting a booster dose, and staying home when you do not feel well are proven to be effective tools to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

Under Level 1, indoor household gatherings increase to a maximum of any 20 people, and outdoor informal gatherings increase to a maximum of any 50 people. There is no longer a requirement for a household to have a steady number of contacts, such as a Steady 10 or Steady 20.

A change has been made to Level 1 guidance to permit singing in places of worship, even if those in attendance are not required to show proof of full vaccination or medical exemption. Masking remains required. However, faith venues not requiring proof of vaccination must still operate at 50 per cent capacity; ensure physical distancing is in place; and collect names of attendees by row or have an assigned seating plan.

More information about measures under Level 1 is available online.

Visitor restrictions in hospitals remain

Visitor restrictions in hospitals will remain in place as the number of COVID-19 cases provincewide is projected to increase over the coming weeks with the return to Level 1.

“Right now, the risk of asymptomatic visitors bringing Omicron into our hospitals remains fairly high,” said Russell. “It is important to protect patients and health-care workers from the virus, so those restrictions will continue at this time with the goal of removing them as soon as we can.”

Dashboard updates

With the move to Level 1, the COVID-19 dashboard will be updated Monday to Friday except for holidays. As such, data following a weekend or holiday will include the numbers for multiple days. Advisories when the dashboard has been updated will be posted on the provincial government’s Facebook and Twitter accounts each day.

The next update of the dashboard, after today’s, will occur on Tuesday, Feb. 22 due to the Family Day holiday on Monday.

Learn more

More information on the COVID-19 alert system, including guidance on public health measures, restrictions and the mandatory order, is available online.

Other useful links: