Advertisement

New Brunswick declares state of emergency to ‘slow down’ spread of coronavirus

Coronavirus outbreak: New Brunswick declares state of emergency
New Brunswick Premier Baline Higgs declared a state of emergency in the province as a result of the spread of COVID-19. Higgs said the decision was made after serious deliberation with the all-party committee on coronavirus. All retail outlets except grocery stores, pharmacies, NB Liquor, Cannabis NB, hardware stores and vehicle garages will be ordered to close. Restaurants will be restricted to takeout service, while bars must close.

New Brunswick has declared a state of emergency as a result of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

Premier Blaine Higgs announced the decision at a press conference on Thursday, saying it was necessary to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19.

“We only do this to ensure that New Brunswickers follow these rules,” he said.

“If it wasn’t serious, I wouldn’t be doing this.”

Higgs said the decision was made after serious deliberation with the all-party committee on coronavirus.

Story continues below advertisement

The premier said all retail outlets except grocery stores, pharmacies, NB Liquor, Cannabis NB, hardware stores and vehicle garages will be ordered to close.

Restaurants will be restricted to takeout service, while bars must close.

READ MORE: New Brunswick identifies 3 new presumptive coronavirus cases, bringing total to 11

The premier said anyone who is told to self-isolate by a medical professional must comply by law under the province’s Emergency Measures Act.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Higgs asked that people only leave their houses for groceries or other essentials.

“Before, this was a recommendation,” Higgs said. “Today, it’s a requirement,”

Residents of St. Stephen, N.B., prepare for Canadian-US border to close
Residents of St. Stephen, N.B., prepare for Canadian-US border to close

Part of the declaration will prevent landlords from evicting tenants due to failure to pay rent until at least May 31.

Story continues below advertisement

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said she endorsed the decision by cabinet.

The province did not announce any new cases of COVID-19, but confirmed there are now seven confirmed cases and four presumptive cases.

“Although we have no new cases today, we know there will be more cases of COVID-19,” said Russell.

Higgs said that all provincial licences, registrations, certificates and permits that are valid as of March 16, 2020, will remain valid until May 31, 2020, unless suspended by a court.

Coronavirus outbreak: New Brunswick declares state of emergency to combat COVID-19
Coronavirus outbreak: New Brunswick declares state of emergency to combat COVID-19

“These are unprecedented actions but these are necessary as we are in unprecedented times,” said Higgs.

Story continues below advertisement

“This will provide us with the tools we need to ensure the safety of New Brunswickers.”

READ MORE: Child identified as 8th case of COVID-19 in New Brunswick

Both Higgs and Russel have continued to push New Brunswickers to take the threat of COVID-19 seriously.

“It is up to us to take actions that will slow the spread of the virus, and give our doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals the best chance to cope with its impact,” Russell said on Wednesday.

“The outbreak of COVID-19 can be stressful for people and communities. It is natural to feel distress, anxiety, grief, and worry during and after a stressful situation.”

Higgs was even more forceful, saying people should stay home whenever possible.

“I cannot stress that enough… No play dates; no sleepovers; family visits only when required” said Higgs.

With files from Global News’ Sarah Ritchie and Silas Brown