The Government of New Brunswick has recently announced new changes to help curb the growing number of cases of COVID-19 in the Province. Effective September 21, 2021 at 11:59pm, every person intending to enter New Brunswick must pre-register before entering. This includes New Brunswickers returning to the province. In addition, certain New Brunswick businesses will require Proof of Vaccination to access non-essential services.
Pre-Registration to Enter New Brunswick
While there are no restrictions limiting the reasons for entering New Brunswick, every person will be required to pre-register before entering. Once pre-registered, isolation requirements may apply.
- Fully Vaccinated Traveler:
- no self-isolation requirement,
- multi-use pass will be issued,
- only required to register once.
- Not Fully Vaccinated Traveler:
- self-isolation for 14 days or until receiving a negative COVID-19 test on Day 10 or later,
- required to register for each trip into the Province.
Exceptions will be made for:
- those who cannot receive a vaccine because of a medical exemption*,
- children under 12, if all of their travelling party are fully vaccinated,
- residents of Campobello Island who are travelling back and forth to mainland New Brunswick, regardless of their vaccination status.
* Individuals who cannot receive a vaccine because of a medical exemption will be required to demonstrate proof of exemption signed by a health care provider.
Proof of Vaccination
All people aged 12 and up will be required to show the following in order to access certain non-essential services:
- proof of vaccination or a medical exemption certificate, and
- a government issued identification.
Acceptable proof of vaccination includes:
- MyHealthNB record,
- immunization record from an RHA clinic, pharmacy, or Public Health
- photo or copy of an immunization record,
- proof of Vaccination from another jurisdiction, and
- medical exemption certificate*.
* Individuals who cannot receive a vaccine because of a medical exemption will be required to show proof of exemption signed by a health care provider.
The following businesses will be subject to this new requirement:
- indoor festivals, performing arts and sporting events,
- indoor and outdoor dining and drinking at restaurants, pubs and bars,
- nightclubs, amusement centres, pool halls, bowling alleys and casinos,
- movie theatres,
- gyms, indoor group exercise, indoor pools and recreation facilities,
- indoor organized gatherings like weddings, funerals, parties (excluding parties in a private dwelling), conferences and workshops,
- indoor organized group recreational classes and activities, and
- visitors to long term care homes.
This means that employers and businesses that fall under the above categories must ask to see proof of vaccination and government-issued identification from all patrons/participants/visitors who are 12 and older. At this point, the requirement does not extend to employees.
The Government has provided a poster to be displayed by the affected businesses to notify their patrons of the new requirement: https://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/eco-bce/Promo/covid-19/proof-here.pdf
The Province has also announced that a QR code-based app will be coming in approximately a month. QR codes are a type of barcode, or scannable pattern, that individuals can keep on their smart devices. This will allow New Brunswickers to demonstrate that they have been vaccinated in the event a business requests proof of vaccination.
Any individual or business that fails to follow the new regulations may be subject to fines ranging between $172.50 and $772.50.
We know businesses have questions about what happens if a patron refuses to provide proof of vaccination. During the press conference, the Premier confirmed that as long as a business is following the government directive and not exercising their discretion in refusing service, the business will be protected from discrimination claims. Businesses that have questions about the new proof of vaccination requirement can call a hotline: Business Navigators at 1-833-799-7966 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individuals working or living in vulnerable settings
It was also announced that anyone working or living in vulnerable settings will either be required to be vaccinated or wear a mask and be tested regularly for COVID-19. These settings include nursing homes, adult residential facilities, assisted living facilities, shelters, community kitchens and addiction and mental health treatment facilities.
The Premier has confirmed that these changes will not be contained in an Emergency Order. Rather, the changes will be set out in the Public Health Act and the Family Services Act. Further details will be provided as they become available.