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Interac, internet outage disrupts the morning routine across Saint John

Cafe manager Micah Hiltz says one-third of the shop's patrons usually pay by debit. Travis Fortnum / Global News

The Friday morning bustle around Uptown Saint John was interrupted by widespread technical issues – leaving some without internet and most without the ability to pay for their much-needed morning coffee.

At Catapult Coffee & Studio on Princess Street, manager Micah Hiltz says about a third of their customer base typically pays via debit – with Friday morning one of their busiest times.

Interac services were implicated in a nationwide Rogers outage, meaning the popular payment option wasn’t possible — not only at Catapult but also at parking meters, garages and checkouts everywhere.

Read more: Rogers says wireless services restored for ‘vast majority’ as mass outage drags on

“We’ve had some, they’ll scrounge for cash or put it on credit card,” says Hiltz.

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Hiltz says staff alerted him to the outage as soon as he got to the café for the day, with a customer tipping them off to the wider issue at play.

He says they still wouldn’t let any customers go without their caffeine fix.

“We say, ‘Well, you can get us next time you’re in.’ Like, we’re fairly relaxed like that,” Hiltz says.

Regulars stopping by Catapult did not have to go without WiFi, with the internet in the shop not a Rogers connection.

Cafe manager Micah Hiltz says one-third of the shop’s patrons usually pay by debit. Travis Fortnum / Global News

Hiltz says that’s good news for the folks working remotely from one of their tables – and maybe even a draw for patrons of other shops where Rogers WiFi is relied on.

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The outage is a big interruption in the age of remote work.

Blocks away from Catapult, Saint John resident Katelin Dean spent Friday morning struggling to log into her office – with no option to clock in physically.

“I tested positive for COVID on Tuesday morning,” she says.

“I tried working from home for a couple of days but I’d been quite sick. Today was going to be my catchup day.”

With Rogers internet at home, Dean says she did what she could entirely relying on her mobile data.

Many with a Rogers cellular plan were left without that option.

Dean says she’s appreciative to have an understanding employer and low stakes around her project deadlines.

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New Brunswick’s Emergency Management Organization says 911 services across the province have not been impacted by the outage.

Individual police stations have, however, shared that their front-desk lines are down.

In a post to social media, Bathurst police said residents in need of urgent help should dial 911 – even if they have a Rogers phone.

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