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‘Let’s stay focused’: N.B. premier warns against breaking public health rules as province loosens restrictions

New Brunswick issues warning as restrictions become relaxed
WATCH: As New Brunswick begins relaxing public health restrictions, officials are warning people to keep following the rules. Silas Brown reports.

Premier Blaine Higgs and chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell are reminding New Brunswickers to follow public health rules after the first weekend of relaxed restrictions in the province.

“This is not a free for all,” Higgs said at the province’s daily update on Monday.

“If people start attending gatherings that extend beyond their two household bubble right now we could begin to see a resurgence of COVID-19.”

Coronavirus outbreak: No new COVID-19 cases in N.B., no victory yet over virus says chief medical officer
Coronavirus outbreak: No new COVID-19 cases in N.B., no victory yet over virus says chief medical officer

On Friday the province began its four phase recovery plan. The first phase focuses on outdoor activities while also allowing for the creation of two family bubbles.

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But according to Dr. Russell some may have gotten carried away with the small taste of freedom afforded by the new rules and that success against the virus depends on people following public health rules.

“I’m also aware that there are many instances where New Brunswickers have taken chances with the virus by holding multi-family gatherings and neighbourhood get-togethers. That’s really not OK at this stage,” Dr. Russell said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: New Brunswick records no new cases for the 8th day in a row

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“We need to understand the temptation to run these risks, but it’s really important that the public, that everybody understands that it’s not worth it.”

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Higgs stressed that now is not the time to be looking for loopholes in the rules that could have dire consequences.

Coronavirus outbreak: N.B. premier says total of 77 tickets issued to people breaking physical distancing rules
Coronavirus outbreak: N.B. premier says total of 77 tickets issued to people breaking physical distancing rules

“People will many times try to find loopholes or a way to stretch the rules. We stretch the rules at the risk of infecting someone we love,” he said.

“Let’s stay focused, let’s keep our strong record going. We can do this together.”

READ MORE: How New Brunswick’s four-step plan to recover from COVID-19 works

New Brunswick has now gone nine days without a new case of COVID-19. Just six of the province’s 118 confirmed cases are active and three people are in hospital with the virus.

Should cases surge in the province restrictions could be reimposed, but officials are appealing to the public to continue following the rules.

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Coronavirus outbreak: N.B. in early stages of recovery from first wave of virus, says chief medical officer
Coronavirus outbreak: N.B. in early stages of recovery from first wave of virus, says chief medical officer

Over the weekend calls to the government “snitch line” surged to 758, up from 617 the weekend before. There were 22 tickets issued over the last week for breaking provincial orders. There have been 77 issued since a state of emergency was declared in March.

Higgs said that as restrictions are loosened, enforcement will be stepped up.

“The risk is high so we will be heightening our surveillance and as I said, fines will continue,” said Higgs. “We are at this point and we do not want to regress.”

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tact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.