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New Brunswick: COVID-19 relief measures for your business

We know that this is a difficult time, full of uncertainty. The information you need to run your business changes rapidly, and it can be hard to keep track and make sense of it all.  

In order to relieve some of the pressure on small businesses such as yours, we are gathering all the information you need about government services and supports in New Brunswick and putting it in this one location. We will continue working with governments to ensure additional relief measures become available for your business as the situation evolves.  

For detailed information about New Brunswick’s recovery plan, please see the provincial site, which is being kept up to date as changes are made. 

As of January 6, 2021: All health zones are downgraded from Yellow to Orange Level

  • Unregulated health professionals, barbers, hair stylists or spas may operate under a COVID-19 operational plan, with enhanced public health measures such as active screening of patrons, closed waiting rooms, and enhanced barriers.
  • Gym, fitness facilities, and yoga studios may operate under a COVID-19 operational plan with additional public health measures, including:
    • Two metres of physical distancing, with masks, in low-intensity fitness classes such as yoga, tai chi, and stretching; and three metres of physical distancing for high-intensity activities such as spin, aerobics and boot camp.
    • active screening and record keeping of patrons.
    • closed locker rooms/common areas.
  • Entertainment venues such as casinos, amusement centres, bingo halls, arcades, cinemas and large live performance facilities may operate under a COVID-19 operational plan. The occupancy limit is set at 50 or fewer, depending upon the size of the venue and the ability to ensure two metres of physical distancing, with continuous mask use and record keeping.
  • All other businesses, including food, beverage and retail, may operate under a COVID-19 operational plan. Distancing of two metres is required where food and beverages are served. Record keeping for seated venues is a requirement. Single household bubbles must be maintained. For example, people may not sit with people from another household at a restaurant.
  • Masks Requirements in all zones : Wearing face masks is mandatory in public spaces, both indoors and outdoors. Outdoor public spaces include parks, playgrounds, markets, festival sites, dog parks, and walking trails. A mask is not required while walking, jogging or cycling with people in the same bubble, where they are unlikely to come within two metres of people from outside their bubble.

For more details on the Green, Yellow, Orange and Red levels please consult the New Brunswick Recovery Plan

Mask Requirements for Businesses in all Zones

  • In every public indoor space, everyone must wear a face covering that covers their mouth and nose at all times except when eating or drinking.
  • A “public indoor space” is an indoor space in which proprietors and/or employees interact with patrons, customers, clients or the general public, including gathering places, place of business that admit customer or patrons, place of worship and modes of public transport.
  • It does not include workplaces into which the public is not admitted: in those workplaces, employees need wear a face covering only when working close than 2 meters of each other, or when accessing common areas of the workplace such as lobbies, hallways, washrooms, stairwells and elevators.
  • Face coverings are not required under this paragraph in offices in which a person works alone or in indoor work sites where employees are separated by a physical barrier.

Cross-border workers

  • The new measures require New Brunswick workers to undergo self-isolation for 14 days unless they volunteer to test for COVID-19. Modified self-isolation is no longer possible.
  • A person can be voluntarily tested for COVID-19 up to two times, depending upon the length of their stay in the province, and become exempt from self-isolation if they have no symptoms and test negative on their day five-to-seven test and complete a second test depending on their length of stay in the province.
  • The number of tests required is based on length of time in New Brunswick as follows:
    • One test performed around day five to seven for people staying five to nine days in New Brunswick.
    • Two tests performed around days five to seven and days 10 to 12 for people staying more than 10 days in New Brunswick.
    • Individuals who do not complete all the tests required cannot continue to be exempt, and must complete any remaining self-isolation days to a total of 14 days. 
  • This does not apply to truckers or daily commuters. It also does not apply to people travelling into the province under the authority of an operational plan approved by WorkSafe New Brunswick, as this already involves a work-isolation requirement.

For more information: 

New Brunswick COVID-19 Recovery Process: Your obligations as an employer

Do you have questions about how to safely get back to business as the New Brunswick economy reopens?

Read our New Brunswick Reopening Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any outstanding questions or concerns about the province's reopening plan please contact CFIB directly at 1-888-234-2232 or email at [email protected]

COVID-19 Operational Plan - Requirement

As different types of businesses are allowed to reopen in phases, your business must create and implement a COVID-19 Operational plan. 

  • The plan must follow the recommendations and requirements of Public Health;
  • The plan must outline how your business will manage the safe opening and operation of your business;
  • A copy of the plan must be present at the workplace and available for review by government officials;
  • Public Health Inspectors, WorkSafe NB or the Department of Public Safety may perform unannounced or pre-scheduled visits at your place of business.

Businesses should review the WorkSafeNB guide “Embracing the New Normal as We Safely Return to Work – Guidelines for New Brunswick workplaces re-opening in a COVID-19 environment”, the Public Health document “Guidance Document of General Public Health Measures During COVID-19 Recovery” and the WorkSafeNB “COVID-19 - Frequently Asked Questions”. Businesses that cannot adapt to all of the minimum requirements should not open in phase two.

IMPORTANT: Controlled venues at which seating is offered for the purposes of eating, drinking, socialization, celebration, ceremony or entertainment are required to maintain a record of the names and contact information of all persons who attend. The same applies to anyone who hosts, organizes or permits gatherings larger than 50. More information can be found in Collection of names and contact information under the Mandatory Order COVID-19.

Additional instructions are in place for early learning centers, childcare and day camps. See COVID-19 Recovery Phase: Guidance to Early Learning and Childcare Facilities and Day Camps.

Businesses who require clarifications can contact the Business Navigator service by phone at 1-833-799-7966 or by email [email protected]  

Businesses looking to procure personal protective equipment join CFIB’s “PPEs for SMEs” Facebook group and consult the Service New Brunswick supplier list.

COVID-19 Signage in Public Areas

You must affix signage on proper hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, and physical distancing throughout the facility and outdoor settings as applicable. At a minimum, signage must be placed at any common entrance and location where people tend to congregate.

Physical Distancing in your business

You must insure physical distancing of 2 meters (6 feet) at all times for both your clients and employees in your business. 

  • Clients and employees must not be permitted to congregate in groups;
  • Where possible, a designated staff should monitor adherence to physical distancing requirements on premises;
  • Customers may partake in their activity while maintaining physical distancing requirements; 
  • The workplace may need to be altered to insure physical distancing requirements (i.e. arrange furniture position to allow 2 meter rule, provide visual cues on floor for distancing and for directional movement of clients);
  • Situations where interfacing between staff and customers is common might deserve special considerations for mutual protection (i.e. installing a plexiglass screen at the cash); 
  • In elevators, the number of people getting into each car to no more than 2 at a time. People should consider only riding the elevator with their own family, taking the stairs, or waiting for the next elevator.

The physical distancing procedures must be detailed in the COVID-19 Operational Plan of your business (see the COVID-19 Operational Plan – Requirement section of this page) and you must affix physical distancing signage in the appropriate places (see the COVID-19 Signage in Public Areas section of this page).

Cleaning and Disinfection Procedures

  • You must ensure that all common areas of your business are cleaned and disinfected twice daily, or more often as required (e.g., if soiled).
  • Items such as countertops, chairs (including below the front of the seat), rental/shared equipment, cashier equipment, light switches, public washrooms, door knobs, and furniture will need to be disinfected more frequently throughout the day.
  • Regular household cleaners, disinfectant wipes or a diluted bleach solution can be used according to the label directions. Information on cleaning and disinfection can be found on the Government of New Brunswick website. Disposable gloves should be used when cleaning surfaces. Employees and clients should be removed from the area during cleaning. 
  • You must ensure that all the necessary supplies such as hot/cold potable running water, liquid soap, paper towel, and garbage bins, for handwashing; or minimum 60% alcoholbased hand sanitizer; toilet paper, cleaning and disinfecting supplies and personal protection equipment (non-medical masks and disposable gloves) are available as appropriate.
  • A staff member should delegated responsibility to monitor supplies to ensure stock is maintained during operating hours.

The cleaning and disinfection procedures as well as the management of supplies must be detailed in the COVID-19 Operational Plan of your business (see the COVID-19 Operational Plan – Requirement section of this page) with clear accountabilities assigned to specific staff. 

Screening your employees before every shift

You should actively pre-screen your employees before the beginning of each shift by using the Screening Questionnaire for COVID-19 and advise those who are either symptomatic and/or have been advised by Public Health to self-isolate, to remain home and not enter the premises.

Your employee screening procedure should be detailed in the COVID-19 Operational Plan of your business (see the COVID-19 Operational Plan – Requirement section of this page).

Point of purchase and Handling of money

You must ensure that hand hygiene supplies are available for both employees and customers at the point of purchase.

Use of electronic payment devices are preferred when possible. 

However, if employees must handle money, always ensure regular handwashing and have minimum 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer readily available. Employees should not touch their face after handling money.


Where public washrooms are available, they must be equipped with hot and cold running water under pressure, liquid soap, paper towel, toilet paper, and garbage containers. Handwash signs must be posted (see the COVID-19 Signage in Public Areas section of this page).

Handwashing Stations

When handwashing stations are used they should enable handwashing by providing clean water, soap, paper towel, and a disposal bin. In the absence of this, minimum 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be made available. Handwash signs must be posted (see the COVID-19 Signage in Public Areas section of this page).

Screening of customers

In addition to your signage requirements (see the COVID-19 Signage in Public Areas section), you should advise customers who are either symptomatic and/or have been advised by Public Health to self-isolate, to remain home and not enter the premises.

Posting information on COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, headache, sore throat, runny nose) will help to enable and reinforce passive screening of patrons.

Provincial Government: Grants, Loans and Loan Deferrals

$5,000 Grant Program

The provincial government announced on January 5 that through Opportunities New Brunswick, grants of up to $5,000 will be available for small businesses that have been subject to Orange or Red alert level measures for at least one week between Oct. 10, 2020, and March 31, 2021.

Eligibility requirements and how and where to apply, will be available in the coming weeks.

Deferring interest and principal payments on existing loans

As an immediate measure, and on a case-by-case basis – the Government of New Brunswick will defer loan and interest repayments for up to six months on existing provincial loans. This support will enable businesses to have immediate relief if they are experiencing difficulties as a result of COVID-19.

This assistance is available, on a case-by-case basis, to any business that has a loan with an existing Government of New Brunswick department. The deferral can be requested by contacting the department that issued the loan.

Working capital for NB small business owners

  • Small business owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for working capital loans up to $100,000 through the NB Small Business Emergency Working Capital Program.  
  • Accessible to small businesses employing 1 to 49 employees, including sole proprietors/self-employed, with sales of less than $10 million in the most recent fiscal year.
  • Examples of sectors that would benefit from this support include restaurants, full time & seasonal tourism operations, service sectors, and self-employed business owners impacted directly by the pandemic.
  • The loans are funded by Government of New Brunswick and are administered by the Community Business Development Corporation (CBDC). Applications can be completed on online.

NB Business working capital above $100,000

  • Opportunities New Brunswick is making available working capital loans to assist employers respond to the challenges associated with COVID-19.
  • Working capital in excess of $100,000, up to a maximum of $1 million is available.
  • Examples of sectors that would benefit from this support are manufacturing and processing industries, information technology and related sectors, business-to-business service sectors engaged in export, or import replacement activities, and cultural enterprises.
  • Business can apply directly to Opportunities New Brunswick.

Business Navigator

New Brunswick businesses who have questions about provincial government support and regulations can contact the Business Navigator service by phone at 1-833-799-7966 or by email [email protected]

For more detailed information, please visit the New Brunswick COVID-19 information page, as well as the Emergency Mandatory Order

Employment Standards Requirements

Since the COVID-19 pandemic is an unforeseen circumstance, there is no requirement for an employer to provide notice of lay-off to an employee. 

Licensed dining rooms: Alcohol with take-out and delivery

New Brunswick has agreed to allow licensees to sell alcohol from licensed dining rooms with take-out and delivery meals. Licensees must ensure they take all reasonable steps to ensure no delivery to minors or to intoxicated persons.

Since permission to sell alcohol with take-out and delivery is within the Emergency Order it is temporary in nature. Government has indicated it is their intention to make these provisions permanent once the Legislature is in session. While there are few limitations with the current measures. This will ensure a smooth transition to making these measures permanent.

Supports for Aboriginal Businesses

The Ulnooweg Development Group has been providing loans and business support to Aboriginal businesses in Atlantic Canada since 1986. The group has announced two measures to help support Aboriginal businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • payment deferrals and interest relief on loans between April 1 and June 30, 2020, and
  • Emergency Loan Program - up to $40,000 to help with immediate operating cash flow needs. 

Information on the support is available on the Ulnooweg site.

Mental Health Resources

With Canada firmly in the grip of COVID-19, it is anything but business as usual.  Many businesses are closing their doors and laying off staff, others have employees refusing to come to work. We are all stressed and everyone is worried about their health and financial well-being.  Amidst this turbulence, you as a business leader are scrambling to keep your business afloat while leading your staff through these uncertain times.

Here are links to resources you can access if you’re feeling overwhelmed:

New Brunswick


What is CFIB doing?

As we regularly communicate with the New Brunswick government to get answers to your questions, we are actively lobbying them to:

  • Grant businesses access to immediate financial support covering their ongoing costs (e.g. municipal taxes, rent, interest on mortgages, insurance, telecommunications costs, electricity or gas costs, government permits, etc.). Provinces should look to Quebec’s recently announced forgivable loan (up to $15,000 per month) for guidance. 

  • Immediately to reduce the provincial portion of the non-residential (commercial) property taxes by a minimum of 50 per cent for small and medium sized business and commercial renters.

  • Convert the current small businesses support from “deferrals/loans” to “holidays/grants”

  • Ensure the federal government offers significant support for employee and contractor wages, including providing an income stream for the business owner.

  • Secure financial support for sectors that depend on demand from shut down businesses to ensure supply chain integrity.  

  • Suspend evictions and property seizures of shut down businesses.

  • Ensure shutdowns are consistent and targeted to the sectors of greatest concern, as backed by transparent healthcare policy evidence. 

  • Impose lockdowns fairly to ensure an unlevel playing field is not created between large and small businesses. If retailers are required to close, ensure that big box retailers that sell groceries are limited to providing essential services only and not permitted to sell non-essential goods in-store during the lockdown period.


We’re dedicated to supporting your business through this difficult time by compiling answers to the most common COVID-19 questions and keeping you up to date on the latest relief measures from the federal government. Visit our Small Business Help Center to learn more.