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COVID-19: New Brunswick Reopening Frequently Asked Questions

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When is the start of the third (yellow) phase of reopening the economy in New Brunswick?

The provincial government of New Brunswick has announced a four-phase reopening plan.  Phase three (yellow) now active.

Which sectors in New Brunswick are currently allowed to open?

As part of Phase Three (Yellow) of the recovery plan the following businesses will be newly permitted to operate while observing their obligations (see section New Brunswick COVID-19 Recovery Process: Your obligations as an employer):

  • Non-regulated health professionals/businesses
  • Personal services businesses
  • Outdoor gatherings in uncontrolled venues with physical distancing of 50 or fewer
  • Religious services, weddings and funerals with physical distancing
  • Outdoor and indoor visitation with physical distancing and controls in long-term care facilities
  • Increase in elective surgeries and other non-emergency health care services 
  • Swimming pools, saunas and waterparks
  • Gyms, yoga and dance studios
  • Rinks and indoor recreational facilities subject to the gathering 
  • Pool halls and bowling alleys
  • Organized sports
  • Overnight camps
  • Canadian residents owning property in New Brunswick will be permitted to enter the province provided they self-isolate for 14 days, or the duration of the visit if shorter than 14 days.
  • Canadian residents can visit family members in New Brunswick provided they self-isolate for 14 days, or the duration of the visit if shorter than 14 days.
  • Casinos and bingo halls 
  • Amusement centres and arcades 
  • Cinemas, bars (without seating) and large live performance venues 
  • Trade shows and conferences 

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

What do I need to know before I can reopen my business?

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 three.

IMPORTANT: Occupancy of any facility must be based on the ability to maintain physical distancing between people that are not close friends and family.
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.

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

If I am reopening my business, does that mean the threat of COVID-19 is over?

No, in order to reduce exposure, you will need to follow the health and safety guidelines outlined by the province that ensure the safety of your employees and general public that your business comes in contact with.

I am not included in the initial list of businesses that can open during Phase Three, when can I open my business?

The provincial government of New Brunswick has announced a four-phase reopening plan.  Phase three is now active. It outlines the process to reopen New Brunswick with a progressive lifting of public health measures, including those on businesses.

Businesses not included in phase three may be able to operate while modifying their operations and by observing orders as described in the Renewed and revised Mandatory Order COVID-19.

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

The lifting of measures will be re-evaluated based on the latest information from New Brunswick’s Chief Public Health Office. Decisions during each phase will be based on public health evidence and continuous monitoring. If there are concerns about moving into a next phase, progress will be slowed, halted or even reversed to continue to protect the health and safety.

What compliance issues and provincial standards do I need to follow as I reopen my business?

As different types of businesses are allowed to reopen in phases, your business must create and implement a Pandemic Operational plan:

  • The plan must follow the recommendations and requirements of the Mandatory Order for COVID-19;
  • The plan must outline how your business will manage the safe opening & operation of business;
  • The plan should be adapted and include sector specific measures put forward by government;
  • 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.

Also, your business must have completed a risk assessment to determine the engineering, administrative controls and/or PPE controls necessary to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 exposure.

Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulation Requirements must be discussed with employees:

  • Responsibilities under the OHS Act and regulations;
  • Three rights under the OHS Act;
  • Employees must receive orientation, information and training on the new policies and processes implemented regarding COVID-19;
  • Employee training on the work refusal process must be provided;
  • Supervisors need to be knowledgeable of guidelines and processes established by Public Health;
  • Employees need to receive information, instruction and training on the personal protective equipment required to protect against COVID-19 when appropriate;
  • The proper personal protective equipment needs to be made available and maintained when appropriate;
  • Competent and sufficient supervision must be in place to ensure employees are complying with policies, procedures and processes is in place.

All employees must be informed of the requirement to co-operate with Public Health if there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in the workplace.
 
Resources:

What are my employees' health and safety rights?

The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires all employers to take all reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of workers. An employee has the right to participate by providing feedback to their employer, the right to know hazards that they may be exposed to, and the right to refuse working in unsafe environment.

My business can be open. How do I recall my employees?

Provide employees with as much notice as you can. You can send a registered letter to your employee letting them know the date of their next shift, hours, along with any relevant information they need such as a contact person they can reach out to, like a supervisor, if they have any questions or concerns.

What if my employees are refusing work due to COVID-19 concerns?

Employees have the right to refuse working under what they consider an unsafe environment. If this is the case, remind your employees of the preventive measures that have been put in place, and the safety products available to them. Communicate to the employee that their safety is your priority. 

You may choose to reassign work, perhaps allowing them to work from home. In this case, the employee must receive the same wages and benefits as they would have received under their previous assignment. There is a work refusal process, which may include calling a WorkSafeNB inspector to ensure safety of employee and confirm if your preventative measures are up to the standards. Please contact us for further details on this topic.

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