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Your business and COVID-19 in New Brunswick

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To help you navigate these challenging times, this page provides information on pandemic-related restrictions, support measures, government services, and useful CFIB resources for New Brunswick. You’ll also learn how CFIB is fighting for your business.

May 10thth –  All of Zone 4, including Edmundston and the Upper Madawaska region, Saint-Léonard, Grand Falls, Drummond, New Denmark and Four Falls, will be upgraded to the Yellow Alert Level at midnight tonight (May 10, 2021).

All of the provincial health zones are now at the Yellow Alert Level.

Please see Public Health Measures & Restrictions section to see how the current restrictions impact your business.

Additionally, changes have been made to the self-isolation rules which may impact workers. Please review the Public Health Measures & Restrictions section.

Use our operational plan template

Protecting your staff, customers, and business is a top priority, so we’ve put together an operational plan template to help you do just that. With tips for best practices, advice on meeting provincial compliance requirements, and links to downloadable COVID-19 resources, the plan is clear, concise, and easy to tailor to your needs.


Public health measures & restrictions

Business restrictions/Lockdown/Re-opening/Alert Level changes

As of midnight on May 10tthe entire province will be in the Yellow Alert Level, the following restrictions will be in place:

  • All 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
    • Licensed premises (ex: bar or restaurant) must ensure patrons remain seated at all times, except for when entering or exiting the facility, and to go to and from the washroom
    • Record keeping for seated venues such as restaurants, is a requirement
  • Entertainment venues (ex: Casinos, theatres) may operate under a COVID-19 operational plan
    • Capacity based at 50% of facility
  • Fitness facilities (ex: gyms, yoga studios) may operate under a COVID-19 operational plan
  • Personal services (ex: barbers, hair stylists, spas) may operate under a COVID-19 operational plan
  • Daycares are open
  • Unregulated health professionals may operate under a COVID-19 operational plan
Cross-border workers

Rotational Workers and Truckers:

All travellers entering New Brunswick, including truck drivers who regularly cross provincial borders, must register travel online or by calling 1-833-948-2800. 

Rotational workers are now required to self-isolate for 14 days, separate from others, once they return to New Brunswick. This is regardless of vaccination status. If rotational workers choose to isolate at home with others, everyone in the household must also isolate for 14 days.

Truck drivers who regularly cross borders and all other regular cross-border commuters are now required to follow modified self-isolation guidelines for 14 days upon entering New Brunswick.

These individuals must stay at home at all times, except for medical needs or to pick up necessities of life, as long as they can do so while avoiding contact with others (ex: curbside pickup or delivery). Other members of the household are not required to self-isolate. These rules apply to all New Brunswick truck drivers and regular cross-border commuters regardless of vaccination status. As part of the modified self-isolation guidelines, truck drivers and regular cross-border commuters should limit contact/ stay away from members of their household as much as possible. Other household members should minimize contact with others and follow all Public Health guidelines that apply to their health zone’s alert level.

Changes to Self Isolation Rules:

Effective as of April 24th anyone returning to the province from leisure travel, as well as individuals moving to New Brunswick, and business travellers (who are not rotational workers, truck drivers or regular cross-border commuters) are required to self-isolate for at least seven days in a designated isolation hotel at their own expense.

Travellers will be required to take a COVID-19 test on day five of their self-isolation, and once they get a negative result, they may complete their 14-day self-isolation at home, if there are no other people in the household.

Test results will likely be available on day seven of isolation. Travellers will be required to take a second test on day 10 of their isolation.

Upon arrival in New Brunswick, leisure travellers must drive themselves or use a taxi. No family pick-ups or carpools are allowed.

These rules apply to all leisure travellers, regardless of their vaccination status.

Isolation hotels will be located in communities across the province, in each health zone. These hotels are coordinated by the Canadian Red Cross to provide housing, food, medical needs and security. The cost will be approximately $200 per day. 


Mandatory Mask Regulations

Masks are mandatory in New Brunswick, in most indoor places which include:

  • public spaces where the public and employees interact (retail businesses, malls, service centres, places of worship, restaurants and bars except while eating, etc.) and organized indoor gatherings in public spaces (e.g., weddings, funerals, etc.)
  • common areas like lobbies, elevators and hallways, and public shared spaces including those in private sector and government workspaces; and
  • public transportation.

Masks are required in outdoor public spaces when physical distancing of 2 metres cannot be maintained. 

Face masks are required when going though a drive-thru window. Masks are required for workers and any occupants of the vehicle who will be within 2 metres of the drive-thru window.

Continuous mask use is still required in seated venues with one metre physical distancing.

Previously existing mask policies continue to apply in hospitals, health care settings, public schools and early childhood learning facilities.

Children under two are exempt from wearing masks, as well as those with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask.

Employee management

Employment standards

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. 

Employer obligations & OHS
COVID-19 Operational Plan - requirement

As businesses reopened they were required to 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”.

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 clarification 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 can join CFIB’s “PPE 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 ensure physical distancing requirements (i.e., arrange furniture position to allow 2 metre 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, limit 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.

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, doorknobs, 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% alcohol-based 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 be assigned responsibility to monitor supplies and 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.

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.

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.

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.

Screening of customers

In addition to your signage requirements, 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.


New Brunswick’s vaccination rollout is as follows:

Quarter 1 (December 2020 to April 2021)

*Less than 10% of the population vaccinated.

These groups include:

  • Health care and long-term care staff
  • Long-term care residents and staff
  • First Nations communities Adults 16+
  • Individuals aged 85+
Quarter 2 (April to May 2021)

*Greater than 30% of the population vaccinated.

  • Residents and staff of other communal settings (i.e., homeless shelters, transition homes, correctional centres, etc.)
  • Allied health care professionals providing direct patient care (i.e., pharmacists and dentists)
  • First responders (i.e., Firefighters and police officers)
  • Home-support workers for seniors
  • Individuals over the age of 70, starting with those aged 80-to-84, descending in five-year increments
  • Volunteers in long-term care facilities and designated support persons
  • Individuals who have certain select complex medical conditions and individuals between the ages of 40 and 69 who have three or more select chronic health conditions
  • Workers who regularly travel across the border and have been participating in mandatory COVID-19 screening activities, including daily commuters, truckers and rotational workers
Quarter 2 (June 2021)

*Greater than 50% of the population vaccinated.

  • Individuals with two or more select chronic health conditions
  • Health care workers providing indirect patient care
  • School staff
  • High school and post-secondary students aged 16 to 24
Quarter 3 (July+ 2021)

*Greater than 75% of the population vaccinated.

Once vaccine supply is continuous and available in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the opportunity to be immunized.


Availability of vaccine is expected to be limited until mid-to-late summer. Details on who can register, how and when will be announced publicly as vaccinations are completed within our priority groups.

Mental health

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

Provincial support

$5,000 Grants Program

Applications for the $5,000 grant program closed on April 30th.

Loans & loan deferrals
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 due to 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 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 from $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. 

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 $60,000 to help with immediate operating cash flow needs. 

Information on the support is available on the Ulnooweg site.

What CFIB is doing in New Brunswick

What we’re asking for
As we regularly communicate with the New Brunswick government to get answers to your questions, we are actively lobbying them to:
  • 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 uneven playing field is not created between large and small businesses. As an example, 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;
  • Review and update lockdown measures regularly to avoid any business being closed longer than necessary;
  • Ensure provincial small business support programs are available to all sectors, when their operations are affected by increased public health restrictions;
  • Ensure provincial small business support programs are available to businesses of all sizes;
  • Extend availability of provincial small business support programs for as long as public health measures restrict the ability of businesses to operate;
  • Extend current and future provincial small business support programs to businesses that began operating during the pandemic;
  • Ensure the application process for provincial small business support programs are simple;
  • Convert provincial small businesses support programs introduced during the pandemic from “deferrals/loans” to “holidays/grants”;
  • Actively promote consumer confidence, and spending within small businesses.

Learn more on how CFIB is fighting for better relief at the federal level.

Additional resources

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